Meet Prof. Sunggi Baik, the Initiator of Education System to Train IT Talents
Meet Prof. Sunggi Baik, the Initiator of Education System to Train IT Talents
  • Reporter Reo Ye-jin
  • 승인 2012.05.02 19:54
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The first International Symposium on Creative IT Engineering and Innovation was held to share ideas about creative ways to train the field’s elites. Although the newly created IT Innovation Laboratory (i-Lab) started this year, it was prepared during the presidency of the former president, Sunggi Baik. Moreover, he was appointed as the chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee. The Postech Times interviewed him to resolve curiosity about the symposium.
Could you briefly explain about the pan-national project to train IT talents briefly and give your opinion about it?
Korea quickly developed from one of the poorest countries in the early 50s to a tdemocratically and economically developed nation. However, for the last four to five years, the formerly rapid growth rate of Korea has been on halt. Therefore, we need a new engine that will drive the growth once again. Though Korea is a powerful IT nation, we only show strengths in hardware, not software. As a solution, the government proposed a project to discover IT talents and educate them with a unique system, different from the normal university education system. Yonsei University took action first and then POSTECH jumped in next. This year, POSTECH founded the i-Lab in order to train students to merge IT engineering with various areas such as sports, arts, and social sciences. As a result, through the program, it encourages students to be looking for diverse career paths by drifting away from the standard, settled path.
For what reason, did you take the responsibility of the chair of Symposium Organizing Committee and open the symposium?
I had proposed the business to the university and received approval from the government in my presidency. In other countries, there have been many endeavors to train IT talents already. Media Lab in MIT and Entertainment Technology Center (EDC) are a few well-known examples. Thus, I realized that POSTECH needs to hop on the train as soon as possible and created the i-Lab. The department is hosting the symposium to heed to experts’ idea on how to uniquely lead the education business. Even though POSTECH endeavors to make a global environment, it does not always work well due to many limitations. Therefore, as an effective solution, i-Lab created close relationships with Stony Brook University. According to the current i-Lab system, all freshmen students are to go abroad and study in that university in the second semester of first year.
Who are the guests to the symposium?
The symposium is hosted in order to discuss the new education system to train creative, competent students and draw the interest of POSTECH students. POSTECH invited Dr. Walter Bender, the former executive director of MIT Media Lab and the chairman of Sugar Labs. Since he has cultivated unique yet successful experiences in IT engineering for a long time, he will be more than competent to provide advice. Moreover, Dr. Hongsun Kim, the CEO of AhnLab is invited. As AhnLab was also founded and are managed by creative talents, POSTECH can receive verification of its education system and get more ideas about it. In addition, several more distinguished figures in various areas are invited to deliver speeches. 
What kind of manner do you expect from the attendees of the symposium?
The purpose of the symposium is to extend the area of thinking about the educational environment, and students and professors need to lead self, group, and society innovation. In order to do that, the first and the most crucial requirement is openness. Openness is the attitude to admit diverse things by widening and opening up their minds. Therefore, the symposium can help students to have turnover from the existing system and look for the method to innovate themselves. 
What is your image of IT talents?
The world is changing really fast and new research is published every day. However, there is always the fundamental knowledge such as math, physics, English, and history. Accordingly, students must study and challenge themselves for further information in various areas. In order to be IT talents, they need to accumulate both fundamental and new knowledge to innovate.
What do you think about the interaction between university, government, and industry in IT area?
Normally, people think that university is the place where scholars study and research, while the industry is business in which the technology is applied. However, they need to reshape their thinking. Nowadays, when great research results interact with the market, new values are created. In the case of the IT fusion program, customers and markets are required to have deep interaction to succeed. As a result, in order to be successful, policies, research, and application should be considered closely and support each other from the start.
Any last words to the participants?
There is no solution in educating IT talents, but students, professors, and experts will discuss the role of the university. Since there are panel discussions after all speeches, it will be great for all to actively participate.