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Top scientist defends criticism of award

Updated: 2015-02-05 07:41
By China Daily (China Daily)

One of China's top scientists responded to criticism of an award-winning project, saying that the adoption of open source codes was "legal and reasonable".

Zhang Yaoxue, a computer scientist at the Chinese Academy of Engineering who led a team that won this year's top State Natural Sciences Award for inventing the concept of transparent computing, said that the project did not adopt the source code.

However, Zhang, who is also president of Central South University and a professor with Tsinghua University, said another ongoing project, transparent desk, adopted the source code but it was abiding by the general public license.

According to the research team, transparent computing refers to programming in which users are not aware of the software and yet can access and accomplish tasks from any type of device.

Over the past 16 years, the top science award, which recognizes major breakthroughs in fundamental research, has only been handed out six times.

However, Zhang's win triggered debate online, with some comments suggesting that the project was undeserving.

On Monday, a netizen with the Web name KraneSun on GitHub, a web-based software repository hosting service, accused Zhang of copying a source code.

KraneSun posted that the source code Zhang's team used was written by another netizen from GitHub. The post received 1,199 comments, in English and Chinese, by Wednesday.

Zhang responded on Tuesday evening, saying that the adoption of the source code was legal in the computing world.

He said that the transparent desk project applies to the thought and theory of transparent computing but it is not the same project as transparent computing, which won the award.

Zhang was also questioned online for his concurrent roles as an administrator of Central South University, a former official of the Ministry of Education and a researcher.

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