Message from the Dean

The Establishment and
Evolution of ‘New Information Sciences’

Takeshi TokuyamaDean of the Graduate School of Information Sciences

The Graduate School of Information Sciences (GSIS) of Tohoku University was established in 1993 with three departments, the Computer and Mathematical Sciences Department, the System Information Sciences Department, and the Human-Social Information Sciences Department, based on the slogan of “Establish new information science to realize a harmonious and affluent society”. 
 In 2003, a fourth department, the Applied Information Sciences Department, was established to meet increasing demand for interdisciplinary research to solve various complex problems in the real world. Unifying the disciplines of the four departments, we have aimed at development of new information science with a wide scope.


Supported by the long history and broad activity of research in the field of information and communications at Tohoku University, GSIS covers a variety of research areas with fundamentals and applications in natural sciences, social science, and humanities.  We are proud of our world-level academic achievements in each individual fields. We are also proud of our talented graduates actively contributing to the society.  As of the end of 2014, the total number of graduates from GSIS is 3,794 – 741 with PhDs and 3,053 with master’s degrees.


Development in information sciences is the core of advancement of information society, and it is indispensable in every academic field.  Moreover, we unconsciously use information technologies such as internet and smartphones in our daily life, and not only the infrastructures and the business but also our lifestyles and mental activities are influenced by the advanced information-oriented society.


Accordingly, our mission of information science in advancement of the modern society should have aspects of promotion of the human-oriented information society considering the influence of IT innovations on the regional and global society and citizen life.  Therefore, we should develop interdisciplinary information science to lead the affluent and harmonious human-oriented future IT society, as well as motivate students to pursue innovation, the creation of new industries, and the construction of social systems in this new era of the global information society.


To accomplish our mission, each member of GSIS should first deepen his/her own research to obtain world-class reputation. Moreover, we should unify different disciplines into our interdisciplinary information science to strengthen synergy and diversity to lead to the development of talented graduates with a wide range of viewpoints and abilities to solve various pressing problems in our global society.


To promote such novel interdisciplinary research activities, we incubate intensive research projects and also structure research centers and units. The intensive research project “Interdisciplinary Information Science toward a Secure and Safe Society” (2005-2009) focused on rescue robotics, aiming to reduce damage from large-scale disasters. This project has been expanded into a large-scale project to address several social requirements, including the development of the Quince robot, which was used in the investigation of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster. Another intensive research project, “Bioinformatics — Analysis of Big Biological Information” (2010-2013), has been made into a core project at Tohoku Medical Megabank to develop a next-generation IT medical system.


Yet another major project, “Nowcast and Forecast of Road Traffic Flow Based on Multi-Modal Sensor Fusion and Simulation” (2011-2014), made important contributions to the analysis of large amounts of data related to the Tohoku quake, and is widely recognized as an innovative project on real-world applications of big data analysis.


Currently, we are running the intensive research project “Software/Hardware Foundations on Custom Supercomputing to Develop Big-Data Applications,” aimed at finding solutions in real-world applications of big-data analysis.


We also lead the Applied Mathematics Collaborative Forum to organize mathematical applications in a wide range of science and technology fields in order to activate interconnection among mathematicians and researchers in other fields requiring mathematical solutions.


Our educational activities included starting an International Collaborative Graduate School named “Graduate Program in Data Science(GPDS)” as part of Tohoku University’s “Top  Global University” vision, starting in April 2017.
Here, we will practice further global human resources development via highly practical education in data science, including joint supervision with universities overseas.


In addition, we are pursuing various efforts to cultivate advanced human resources appropriate for the globalization era. This entails cultivating people for industry-university collaboration, international courses and industry-academia collaborative education that can be taken in English. It also includes support for exchange programs and research assistance for doctoral students.


Furthermore, we have established an Information Literacy Education Course, and we’re ahead of the world in nurturing education leaders who provide “information education,” in this IT era when information ethics and morals are under increasing pressure.


Utilizing such efforts, we aim to realize an affluent and secure society, thanks to the efforts of the graduate school teachers, students and other members, all working together. We are committed to disseminating our "new information science," which flexibly deals with the problems of our diverse contemporary society.