Bill Gates famously declared in 1981 that 64 kilobytes of computer memory should be enough for anyone. Since then, the power of computers to process information has grown exponentially, and Wei Wang believes this is a trend that will continue well into the future.
What really interests Wei, who is studying for his master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Otago, is the evolution of multi-core processors. “All computers had one core processor until recently,” Wei explains, “and the new Mac Pro has eight cores. I’ve been told that in the next few years personal computers will jump to having many cores, 40, 50, 100.”
The problem Wei is trying to help solve with his master’s thesis is how to redesign the way computers operate so they’ll be able to take advantage of these new possibilities. He is evaluating the performance of a range of different platforms for writing software to figure out which ones are best suited for this task and why.
It’s an exciting field, Wei says, enabling him to connect the past with the future of computer science. “The idea is not new, but the technology is quite new. So it’s a very good subject for a master’s or PhD student. In this field there are just too many jobs to be done.”
Wei was two years into a mathematics degree at a Chinese university when he decided to change course and shift to New Zealand. He was so pleased with what he found here that he has become an active ambassador for the country. Last year, he gave a presentation at a high school in China where he encouraged students considering study abroad to check out the University of Otago.
“It’s a golden time for Chinese people to come and study in New Zealand,” says Wei. “The exchange rate is falling and living costs are falling.”
He is now considering settling down and buying a house in Dunedin. “I come from Beijing, where there are 16 million people. You can see people everywhere, and you cannot find any privacy.
I really enjoy this side of the Pacific. But Queenstown is too small. Auckland is too big. Dunedin is the best choice.”