Frontier spirit to explore practical sciences and the unknown world
In the early Meiji era, the development of Hokkaido was essential for the establishment of Japan as a modern nation. Sapporo Agricultural College (later Hokkaido University) was established for the purpose of fostering human resources for the development of Hokkaido.
At Sapporo Agricultural College, William Smith Clark, William Wheeler and other American teachers introduced a new learning method based on nature observation and the spirit of scientific research, different from the conventional Japanese teaching method. They were as much excellent engineers as teachers. Some of the students, who learned practical sciences and the frontier spirit from them, became leaders of modern Japanese society, technology and education.
The tradition and spirit of Hokkaido University's education, characterized by unlimited ideas, experimental minds and empirical approaches with an emphasis on fieldwork, were formed there.
Beginning of electrical and electronic engineering in Hokkaido
The field of engineering at Hokkaido University started with the opening of the Department of Engineering of the Sapporo Agricultural College in 1887. It was opened by world authority on bridge engineering Isamu Hiroi (a second-year graduate of the College), and its first-year students included Bunkichi Okazaki, who established the river improvement theory that is still applicable to the present day. The Department of Engineering was, however, closed in its tenth year. Later, in 1924, Hokkaido Imperial University established the Department of Engineering and inaugurated a course of electromechanical engineering.
The foundation of the present Graduate School of Information Science and Technology was formed with the creation of a new university system after the end of World War II.
The Division of Electrical Engineering was opened in the Graduate School of Engineering, followed by the establishment of the Division of Precision Engineering in 1962 and the Division of Electronic Engineering in 1964. With the reorganization of the Research Institute of Ultrashort Waves established in prewar days into the Research Institute of Applied Electricity (currently the Research Institute for Electronic Science), research and education systems for electrical and electronic engineering were also realized, producing many leading figures in Japanese information technology.
With the progress of information electronics
Japan's electronic engineering made great strides forward with the postwar evolution of computers.
The Large-Scale Computer Center was opened in Hokkaido University in 1970, as one of the seven universities (old Imperial Universities) throughout Japan, and the FACOM230-60 system was introduced. The network connecting these Large-Scale Computer Centers later became the backbone of Japan's Internet community, and the role played by Hokkaido University in it was quite significant.
In the 1970s, the number of information science divisions increased to five with the establishment of two new ones - the Divisions of Information Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.
Unlike the relatively slow progress of informatization in the 1960s and 1970s, the dramatic information revolution from the 1980s onward had various impacts on the University's research content and systems. In particular, the IT revolution and university reform movement in the 1990s led to the reorganization of information-related divisions.
In our education and research systems, the previous structure was reorganized into the Divisions of Systems and Information Engineering and Electronic and Information Engineering, with increased emphasis on the importance of graduate education in 1995. In 2001, the Research Center for Integrated Quantum Electronics was established. In 2003, the Large-Scale Computer Center and Center for Information and Multimedia Studies were integrated into the Information Initiative Center. In 2004, information-science-related divisions of the Graduate School of Engineering were abolished, and the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology was newly established.
The Graduate School of Information Science and Technology leads the promotion of research and development of human resources for the continued innovation of science and technology, which form the basis of information society. Its presence is based on the academic climate of Hokkaido University, which has opened new frontiers with its unlimited ideas and experimental spirit.