On November 20, Zhejiang University and Alibaba Cloud unveiled the fruits of “SmartCloud Laboratory” at the Digital and Intelligent Education Summit. A series of innovative platforms designed by the lab, such as “research@ZJU”, “learning@ZJU”, “SmartCloud Classrooms” and “ZJU DingTalk”, have realized “cloud” teaching, research, administration and life at Zhejiang University.
In 2018, Zhejiang University and Alibaba Cloud co-established “SmartCloud Laboratory”. In the past two years, a fully digitalized “virtual university” has been taking shape thanks to the power of information in education.
In terms of teaching, Zhejiang University has completed the intelligent renovation of 400 classrooms which can support the live streaming of 900 courses on a daily basis. Students are also able to enroll in any course anytime and anywhere via ZJU DingTalk.
With the application of new AI technology, online classrooms can support real-time and accurate multi-lingual subtitling and simultaneous interpreting, thus providing an easily accessible classroom experience for Zhejiang University students from 108 countries and regions. Even in the unstable situation of the pandemic, overseas students could not only “keep learning” but also “study better”.
There are over 80 applications on ZJU DingTalk which has more than 250,000 active users every day. On ZJU DingTalk, users can get down to their to-do list, such as registration and oral defense, and they can even know about the crowdedness of each canteen. “Learning@ZJU” is one of the most commonly used platforms and it has incorporated the whole process of teaching and evaluation.
Research innovation is the core competitiveness of universities. In the past, universities would scatter their servers according to disciplines and allocated them to project teams, which would impose limitations on research efficiency. the University has pioneered the “crowdsourcing” of dispersed computing resources on campus, and has established a unified resource pool through a fiber optic connection to the public cloud computing power of Alibaba Cloud, thereby achieving unified management, service and operation.
At present, Zhejiang University has 147 research projects on the research cloud. Flexible allocation, on-demand use and no scheduling have reduced the time spent on Maxquant protein spectrometry analysis to 2 minutes and improved the performance of the 3D reconstruction of cultural relics by 70 times. Access to the public cloud of Alibaba Cloud has also diminished costs tremendously. During the outbreak of COVID-19, the scale of cloud resources used by Zhejiang University is 1.2 times as large as that of the specialized cloud construction in 2018, but the cost is merely 1/25 as high.
“SmartCloud Laboratory” will provide a wider diversity of research software and establish a research cyberspace to promote inter-disciplinary, cross-institutional and cross-regional research collaboration in the future.
On the same day, Zhejiang University, Alibaba Cloud, 11 other universities and 12 other enterprises announced the establishment of “SmartCloud Scientific and Educational Alliance” in an effort to promote the digitalization of universities, accelerate research innovation, facilitate teaching and learning anytime and anywhere, and propel lifelong education.