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Net Journal 3

Realization of pervasive computing based on knowledge-media technology

Yuzuru Tanaka, Doctor of Engineering

Yuzuru Tanaka, Doctor of Engineering,
Director of Meme Media Laboratory,
Professor of the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University,
Division of Computer Science's Research Group of Knowledge Software Science

A ubiquitous knowledge environment with the omnipresence of a variety of information and intellectual property

---- You have been studying knowledge media since the 1980s. What do you think is the current state of the information society surrounding us?

Dr. Tanaka: With the spread of various information devices and media, the speed and volume of information collected, processed and transmitted using information technology are further increasing. A variety of data, tools, multimedia content and services exist on the Web, and are used via wired or wireless networks. While "ubiquitous" means "omnipresent," it is expected that the omnipresence not only of information devices, networks and other types of hardware, but also of various types of knowledge (memes) (Ex. 1) generated and distributed by such hardware will be found in future society. We call this a ubiquitous knowledge environment.

There is, however, one problem. The technology to find what we really need from among the countless data, services and tools on the Web, combine them freely and create new knowledge from them has not yet been established. Although modern society is said to be highly information-oriented, the range of information available is actually limited depending on the models of information terminals and the types and versions of applications. Even though there are all different kinds of memes, these are just things that are given to us. Our laboratory has been addressing this problem since the 1980s, and has conducted research on knowledge media to perform flexible review and redistribution of memes existing on the Web.

---- Are you referring to the Intelligent Pad (IP) invented in 1987?

Dr. Tanaka: Yes, IP is a system that can easily synthesize applications, Web services and browser functions without rewriting programs. It does this by simply synthesizing and editing existing data and programs as if cutting and pasting them on a piece of paper (pad) (Fig. 1). With the Intelligent Box (IB), which is a three-dimensional extension of IP, even people without programming experience can easily construct three-dimensional software by synthesizing a box of three-dimensional objects in the same way as a pad.

Fig. 1: Mechanism of the Intelligent Pad
By cutting a window displaying the name of a company and its stock price from a site providing stock information in the United States and a calculation function to convert US dollars into Japanese yen from another site and putting them on one pad, it is possible to display the current stock price of the company in Japanese yen by just entering the company name.

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