Science, tech min­istry grants 122 re­search awards


The Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (MOST, ) yes­ter­day granted awards to 122 schol­ars, in­clud­ing one whose re­search is aimed at build­ing a bet­ter sys­tem for mu­sic rec­om­men­da­tion.

At a Taipei cer­e­mony yes­ter­day, MOST Min­is­ter Shyu Jyuo-min (

) awarded the agency’s an­nual prizes for aca­demic re­search.

This year, the fund­ing body gave out 10 Merit MOST Re­search Fel­low Awards (

) , 72 Out­stand­ing Re­search Awards (

) and 40 Ta- You Wu Me­mo­rial Awards ( ), which are worth NT$ 200,000 each and re­served for aca­dem- ics aged 42 and younger.

Yi- hsuan Yang ( ), of Na­tional Tai­wan Uni­ver­sity’s un­der­grad­u­ate class of 2006, is a win­ner of the MOST’s Ta-You Wu Me­mo­rial Award for his work on mu­sic rec­om­men­da­tion sys­tems.

In 2011, he founded the Academia Sinica’s Mu­sic and Au­dio Com­put­ing Lab, where one project works to un­cover the pat­terns of mu­sic lis­ten­ing dur­ing di­verse hu­man moods.

A sec­ond project, “Mu­si­cal Ba­sis that Span Mil­lion Songs,” is aimed at au­to­mat­i­cally gen­er­at­ing a se­man­tic de­scrip­tion for any given song, be it a funky syn­th­pop or a tune that is “arous­ing, not ten­der.”

Other win­ners of the MOST re- search awards for young schol­ars in­clude Chu Hui-chun ( ) for her work on game-based learn­ing, and Hsin-an Hou ( ), who has pub­lished pi­o­neer­ing re­search on acute myeloid leukemia.

John Wang ( ), an as­sis­tant re­search fel­low at the Academia Sinica, won for his work on fire ant ge­net­ics that could be in­stru­men­tal to con­tain­ing the in­va­sive species.

Wang is co-au­thor of “A Y-like So­cial Chro­mo­some Causes Al­ter­na­tive Colony Or­ga­ni­za­tion in Fire Ants,” which was pub­lished in the UK-based sci­en­tific jour­nal Na­ture in 2013.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, there are two types of fire ant colonies: In the first type, work­ers can tol­er­ate mul­ti­ple queens in a sin­gle nest, and in the sec­ond, they can tol­er­ate only one and will kill other queens if they en­ter.

Wang and other re­searchers demon­strate that there is a key “su­per­gene” that causes queens to emit odors sig­nal­ing worker ants to en­act spe­cific so­cial be­hav­iors.

If hu­mans can repli­cate the odor, they can sig­nal worker ants to de­stroy queen ants in the nest and thereby con­trol the colony’s prop­a­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to the study.

MOST, for­merly the Na­tional Science Coun­cil, grants re­search awards each year to schol­ars who have pub­lished in­ter­na­tion­al­grade re­search.

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