Message from the Dean

The Establishment and
Evolution of ‘New Information Sciences’

Mitsuyuki NakaoDean of the Graduate School of Information Sciences

The Graduate School of Information Sciences (GSIS) was established in 1993, guided by the principle of “creating new information science to contribute to the realization of an affluent and harmonious society”. GSIS initially comprised three departments: the Computer and Mathematical Sciences, the System Information Sciences, and the Human-Social Information Sciences. In 2003, the Applied Information Sciences Department was established with the aim of developing interdisciplinary research techniques to solve the diverse range of social issues. Our aim has been to create a new information science, which is extensive in scope.

 

Supported by the illustrious history and achievements in information and communications research at Tohoku University, GSIS possesses diverse and wide-ranging research fields, from fundamentals to applied areas in the natural sciences, engineering, humanities and social sciences. We have achieved international success in each field, and many promising individuals from Japan and overseas have proceeded to contribute to society. These include 3,204 graduates with master’s degrees, and 769 with PhDs (as of FY2017).

 

We are living in the information era in which information technology features largely in our lives as naturally known from the IoT, AI, Internet and mobile devices around us. Therefore, advancement of information technology affects not only the structure of the human society, but also our ways of living and thinking. Information science is one of most essential fields of study in the information era. Accordingly, our role in the development of modern society is to contribute to advance information technologies, and simultaneously to promote a human-oriented information society, considering the effects on communities, both regional and global, and the daily lives of citizens. We are expected to foster human resources who can develop interdisciplinary information science founding an affluent human-oriented information society, and pioneer innovation and new industries in the global information era.
 To fulfil our role, GSIS will promote our own information sciences by incorporating diverse fields including natural science, engineering, economics, and humanity on our inherited foundation of interdisciplinarity, and strive to foster global human resources who have deep expertise and broad perspective.

 

To support such activities, in 2005, we began priority research projects, and have created research centers and research units in our efforts to achieve our goals. Our priority research projects have produced significant results. In the “Interdisciplinary Information Science toward a Secure and Safe Society” project, we conducted research which aimed to reduce the damage of large-scale disasters. The achievements led to the practical solutions of social issues such as the development of the Quince robot which contributes to surveys at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, and ImPACT project “Tough Robotics” (project manager: Professor Tadokoro), Japan’s disaster prevention robotics. Another priority research project “Bioinformatics―Analysis of Big Biological Information” is an essential element at Tohoku Medical Megabank in the development of a next-generation medical information system. The project “Nowcast and Forecast of Road Traffic Flow Based on Multi-Modal Sensor Fusion and Simulation” has become a pioneering initiative in application of big data, and contributed to the traffic analysis after the Great East Japan earthquake. In the “Software/Hardware Foundations of Custom Supercomputing to Develop Big-Data Applications” project, we have developed high performance computational technology specialized to the characteristics of the data under processing. This research suggests the direction of the high performance computing supporting data science.
 We are currently executing the following priority research projects: “Development of Interdisciplinary and Integrated New Domain Research through Cooperation between Mathematics and Other Fields” and “Construction of Social Infrastructure Based on Quantum Annealing and Data Science”. We are advancing researches at the frontier of mathematics and high-performance computing in this era of big data.

 

Regarding our educational activities, we established a promotion office for collaborative education between industry and academia. With the cooperation of IT companies in the Sendai area, we collaborate with neighboring universities and colleges of technology to conduct practical IT education which includes lectures and PBL (Project Based Learning) taught by the industry engineers.
 The industry-academia collaborative education for the students who have diverse in their skill level and expertise is called the “Sendai Scheme”, and has been inherited by the Education Network for Practical Information Technology (enPiT) (MEXT). Through collaborations with other Japanese universities in addition to the neighboring schools, we foster human resource who acquires practical skill of cyber security field. At present, the undergraduate program enPiT2 is also conducted under our leadership over the consortium of Japanese universities, which is now developed into enPiT-Pro for the reeducation of industry engineers. These are model projects of industry-academia collaborative education focused on the information security.
 In FY2017, we started the Graduate Program in Data Science as a part of Top Global University Program conducted in Tohoku University. In this initiative, collaborating with various graduate schools, we provide opportunities for learning various aspects of data science, training camps, and study abroad under the joint supervision of mentors in a partner and home universities.
 In addition, we run a range of initiatives to foster highly specialized human resources. These include the MEXT scholarship program for foreign students focused on data science, a course curriculum taught in English, various types of financial support for PhD students, and a matching support for JASSO scholar for short-term study abroad. By making use of our educational resource of the humanity, we have also established Literacy for Information Technology, New Education and Knowledge Society Program(LItNEX) for learning educational skills of information technology in association with information ethics and morals.

 

Utilizing such initiatives, our faculty and students get together on creating an affluent and secure society which can enjoy the benefits of information technology. We believe that our developing information sciences could serve for solving the issues which our modern society is facing.