Patrice Monkam is currently studying for a PhD degree in control science and engineering at Tsinghua University. He is from Cameroon, a country located in central Africa. His areas of interest include image processing analysis, artificial intelligence, medical imaging, deep learning, sustainable development and entrepreneurship.
As the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China concludes, he shares his thoughts on his life at Tsinghua, his impressions of China’s development over the past decade, and his expectations for the future.
Q: How would you describe your Tsinghua experience as a student?
I have been studying at Tsinghua for over three years now. I am very grateful and honored to study at one of the world’s first-class universities. These few years spent at Tsinghua University have made me rediscover myself. The university is equipped with first-class learning facilities (laboratory research equipment, canteens, dormitories, gymnasiums, etc.), which are of crucial importance in the students’ academic outcomes. I have been involved in many extracurricular activities, including various volunteering services, company visits, cross-cultural events, international student organization leadership, etc., which have helped me improve my global competence and social skills. Despite being one of the first international students of my supervisor, he believes in me and lets me participate in various research projects conducted by our laboratory. Under his kind supervision, I have been able to make some breakthroughs in a field that was not explored before by our laboratory. I have met many wonderful friends from every corner of the globe who do care for and support me whenever called upon. I am so fortunate and blessed to be in an environment that inspires me, supports me and provides me with opportunities to explore beyond my limits.
Q: What are some of the biggest changes you have noticed in Tsinghua during the last few years?
In the last few years, I have noticed Tsinghua University become a “global village”. Its openness and connection to the rest of the world have significantly improved. The number of international students and foreign countries represented, the number of international and joint-degree programs and the number of outstanding research outputs acknowledged by the international community have seen remarkable improvement. Besides, as a student who has been on campus since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, other biggest changes include technological revolution and adaptive transformation. Unlike other universities around the world that had to go on break, Tsinghua University developed advanced online learning platforms for its students. In addition, many teaching buildings, student dormitories and canteens have been renovated so as to update them with state-of-the-art equipment and devices.
Q: What would you say about the disciplinary development of your field during the five years and the role Tsinghua faculty has played in the development?
My PhD research focuses on the application of deep learning to medical image processing and analysis. There have been remarkable advances in this area in the past five years. Specifically, numerous clinical decision support systems based on artificial intelligence have been developed to enhance the diagnostic accuracy of various cancer types and cardiovascular diseases. Many of these breakthroughs have been made by experts from Tsinghua University. In a nutshell, Tsinghua University is playing a crucial role in the development of new technologies for medical diagnosis and treatment, and has become part of the leading institutions in interdisciplinary research.
Q: what are your expectations for Tsinghua and China in the next five years?
I look forward to seeing Tsinghua University achieve more global recognition, openness and international cooperation. I believe that researchers from Tsinghua University will continue making great breakthroughs in many critical sectors, such as artificial intelligence, medical treatments, renewable energy and environmental protection. As a country’s future depends on its research outputs and problem-solving capacity developed by its various research institutions and universities, I believe that China’s tremendous investments and efforts in research and development will make it become a prosperous country with a more stable and powerful economy.
Q: How did you see the significance of the CPC Congress?
Before this year’s CPC Congress, which started on 16th October, I got to know more about CPC and CPC Congress. Last year I started getting more interested in understanding the “miracle” behind the high-speed development of China as well as its outstanding achievements. It is the highest body within the CPC that provides a platform to discuss important changes in the top-level leadership and constitution of the Party.
Q: What role do you expect China to play in the future?
I expect China to continue playing an important role in building a more united and prosperous world where resources and experiences are shared to assist those in need. I believe that China will refine its opening-up strategy so as to facilitate more international cooperation and partnerships, and enable other countries to benefit from its resources and experiences.
Reporter: Guo Lili