Hello, I'm Riho Matsubayashi, a first year literature student. I went to the Kawaijuku Educational Institution in Chikusa as a reporter for NU-Cheers. I was pretty nervous since it was my first assignment, but I hope you'll enjoy reading about this event.
"Door to Nagoya University Labs in Kawaijuku" is an event produced and organized by the joint effort of Nagoya University and Kawaijuku. It's an opportunity for prospective students and their parents to hear lectures from Nagoya University's team of top scientists regarding their work with cutting-edge technology. This year marks the fourth year of the event, and they plan to hold lectures six times in this year alone. On May 25th, I listened in on the research overview presented by the department of information science. Professor Eisuke Kita of the Graduate School of Informatics at Nagoya University and graduate students in the program gave the 19th lecture in a series titled "Regarding the Boundaries of Information and Other Fields of Knowledge."
The lecture was divided into three sections:
- Cutting-edge research conducted by Nagoya University professors
- Regarding student life and research by graduate students
- Panel discussion with the presenters
All this was covered in less than two hours! I'd like to describe each topic in future detail below.
1. Cutting-edge research conducted by Nagoya University professors
The lecture was set to start at 2 PM, but by the time I arrived the room was already filled! I was surprised by how much attention this event was getting.
Professor Kita gave background information on why society needs information science, introduced the projects he's been working on with other professors, and talked about the overall goal of the department and information science as a field of study.
Professor Kita also explained some terms including the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" (Industry 4.0) and "Super Smart Society" (Society 5.0). The former refers to the strategic plan in Germany to digitize the manufacturing industry to a high degree, effectively enabling mass customization; while the latter refers to the shape future society will take as a result of the efforts to merge the digital and physical worlds. As I am not well versed in the world of information science myself, my head was full of question marks, but the other students were nodding along, seriously attempting to understand the lecture.
Professor Kita then started talking about the relationship between information science and agriculture--topics that don't seem to have much in common at first glance. He explained that in order to predict yields and manage schedules, engineering and information science are actually deeply tied to agriculture. Next, he introduced the joint projects between the departments of agriculture, engineering, and information science.
For those interested in the newly established department of information science, you can learn more in the following article (Japanese only):
2. Regarding student life and research by graduate students
Two graduate students described a typical day in the department of information science and the kinds of research they are conducting there. Although the study of programming languages is to be expected for information science students, they are also interested in marketing, and conducting experiments using cognitive psychology to understand consumer trends. I was surprised by how much falls in the realm of information science.
3. Panel discussion with the presenters
Finally, everyone gathered around the professor and the graduate students for a Q&A session. There were many questions regarding student life and the quarter system, which is unique to the department of information science. Students asked questions like "Is there bad blood between the department of information science and the humanities," and "Will I be able to make friends with students from other departments as well?"
I was under the impression that information science was all about using computers to solve complex mathematical equations and make discoveries. Normally, I like thinking about how to revitalize the economy, so I thought it was really interesting to hear about how students can learn social psychology even in the department of information science!
On June 11th, the department of engineering will also be presenting their research at the Kawaijuku Educational Institution in Chikusa. The themes are "Cutting-edge Research in 3D Imaging Technologies" and "The Current State of Radiation Therapy."
Even to someone in the humanities like myself this was a really interesting lecture, so I encourage you all to attend the next event!
Reported by Riho Matsubayashi
(Modified and Translated by the Public Relations Office, Nagoya University)