Net Journal 8
Toward Information Science That Understands Human Beings and Analyzes Society
Search Engines That Spur Keyword-Transcending Free Association
Miki HASEYAMA, Doctor of Engineering,
Professor of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University,
Division of Media and Network Technologies, Research Group of Information Media Science and Technology
Completed master’s degree from the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University, in 1988, and PhD from the same school in 1993. After positions including assistant at the Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University, assistant professor of the Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University, and visiting professor at the University of Washington, she assumed her current position of professor of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University, in 2006. Her fields of expertise are the development of theories of multimedia signal processing, including image, video, and audio signal processing, and their applied research. Professor Haseyama is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE), Institute of Image Information and Television Engineers (ITE), Acoustical Society of Japan (ASJ), and the Information Processing Society of Japan (ISPJ). She is also a member of the Engineering Academy of Japan (EAJ) and the Science Council of Japan (SCJ). Among other duties, Professor Haseyama has served as an Expert Member of the Information and Communication Council, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan (2007–11), and Board Member/Chief Technical Adviser of the Information Grand Voyage Project, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan (2007–09).
Media and Network Technologies: Advancing into a new phase as an academic discipline
――What is happening at the forefront of Media and Network Technologies?
Haseyama: Until now, Media and Network Technologies have been considered technologies for providing information and services in virtual space. However, it is now becoming possible to use digital data to analyze human behaviors and thoughts in the real world, and estimate how they will impact the formation of society. Digital data can now be used as a tool to explore the very subject of human beings. I think this means that information science has entered a new phase as an academic discipline.
――What kinds of research are you conducting in your lab?
Haseyama: A variety of websites, like blogs, and services, as represented by social networking services, exist on the Internet. Digital data representing human behaviors and thoughts, such as documents, images, and video, are being stored on the Web. When you draw out similarities and differences in the data by analyzing them from a variety of angles, and extract connections to real-world phenomena, what becomes visible? What do you learn as something becomes visible? What we are tackling is research on developing theories for creating paths to this qualitative understanding by quantifying and visualizing that the vast amount of data that are laid out haphazardly on the Web.
Currently, we are conducting research in five basic themes in the Laboratory of Media Dynamics: (1) encoding, (2) decoding, (3) recognition, (4) semantic understanding, and (5) computer graphics. Furthermore, from technologies in these five basic areas, we have been developing Cyber Space Navigator, a next-generation information access system. This system organically traverses diverse media. Technologies in themes (1)–(3) are useful for arranging conditions suitable for analysis. They are, for example, technologies for restoring degraded images, removing unnecessary objects, and automatically detecting humans and objects. We are developing theme (4) technologies to understand semantic contents, including the semantic contents of images and videos. We are creating computing systems that automatically understand what is included in the target content from features such as colors, patterns, shapes, and movements. Technologies in theme (5) are being developed for generating images and videos. We are pursuing research that makes it possible to automatically create 3D graphical models and produce animation.
Furthermore, we have been developing Cyber Space Navigator, a next-generation information access system, by applying these technologies. Representative applications of Cyber Space Navigator we have developed are Image Vortex and Video Vortex, interfaces that efficiently search for what the user is looking for from images and videos existing on the Web.