Net Journal 5
From connecting to finding - establishment of the theory of knowledge creation
Hiroki Arimura, Doctor of Science,
Professor of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University,
Division of Computer Science's Research Group of Knowledge Software Science
Adoption of a global COE program to elicit knowledge from a sea of information
---- In June 2007, Next Generation Information Technology Bases to Support Knowledge Creation was adopted as a global COE program. Dr. Arimura, you serve as the project leader. What were the circumstances in which the project was applied for and adopted?
Dr. Arimura: The Global COE program is a successor of the 21st Century COE Program (Ex. 1) started by our laboratory in FY2002. In the 21st Century COE program, considerable results have been achieved in research and development of information processing communication technologies, which freely interconnect data and systems on the Internet. The new Global COE Program aims to establish theories and technologies for creating new knowledge from the state where everything is interconnected. It is a new step from connecting to finding.
---- I hear that the fields of information, electricity and electronics were highly competitive, with very few projects adopted. What were the points that led to the high estimation of your project?
Dr. Arimura: First, we highlighted the concept of knowledge creation to discover and coordinate pieces of knowledge as a new discipline. Today, we can easily obtain large amounts of information thanks to the popularization of the Internet. Also with the dramatic progress of observation and measurement technologies, we can now obtain data on various events and phenomena that could not be accessed in the past. Although we are now facing an unprecedented ocean of information, new knowledge cannot be created only by increasing the amount of information because discovering specific or remarkable patterns from chaotic, large amounts of data, and reading their hidden meanings can be too complex and enormous to handle. To find the value concealed in this ocean of data, it is necessary to develop new information technologies, academic bases, and human resources. I think one of Japan's most innovative ventures was to establish a university education and research program for that purpose and develop a concrete plan for it.
The fact that young researchers of our graduate school played a central role in compiling the outline of the program was also highly valued. More than half of the researchers in this program, including myself, are in their thirties or forties. Such people thought about what would be necessary for future university education and what they should do beyond the boundaries of their specialties. The strong backing of the Dean and senior professors strongly support us.