Table Speech

Computational Science Opens the Way to Future of Japan

September 18, 2013

Mr. Michiyoshi Mazuka
Chairman, Fujitsu Limited

 Supercomputer K (named after the Japanese word “kei” meaning 10 quadrillion) was developed jointly by Fujitsu and RIKEN, the leading Japanese research institute for basic and applied science. Going through various hardships, including the Great East Japan Earthquake that caused devastating damages to our plants, computer K became the world’s fastest supercomputer in 2011. This successful news brightened up people in Japan who were feeling discouraged by the disaster.

 The overwhelming capacity of supercomputers is utilized in “computational science” to predict various phenomena based on computationally emulated models. “Computational science” is now considered the third pillar of science that yields practical application and complements “theory” and “experimentation.”

 Computer K is in full operation since it became operational, with revolutionary missions to “solve social issues” and to “reinforce international competitiveness.” Leading researchers work night and day to make the “world’s best achievement” in the “five strategic fields”: life science, energy, disaster mitigation, manufacturing technology and the universe. Computer K is widely used by both research institutes and private enterprises that total 56 companies to date. We get many requests for its further utilization.

 Let me quote some leading-edge initiatives. Fujitsu collaborates with Professor Hisada of the University of Tokyo to develop a “heart simulator” for advanced medical treatment that replicates precisely the cardiac movement. It takes two days even for computer K to calculate the movement of one heartbeat on a molecular level. If the performance of supercomputers improves in the future, patients will come to enjoy optimal surgery tailored to individual needs or innovative development of new medicines.

 The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology conducts research on the “forecast of tsunami caused by massive earthquakes.” Professor Kaneda leads this project with his strong sense of mission to “connect science, technology and human beings in order to protect lives from earthquakes.” By utilizing computer K to conduct a comprehensive analysis on complicated phenomena in disaster situations, this initiative identifies the best evacuation route and formulates hazard maps that leads to disaster-prepared urban development.

 Computer K has also enabled the calculation of aerodynamic resistance of automobiles that dramatically shortened the development period of new models. The project leader Professor Kato of the University of Tokyo believes that computer K will “bring qualitative changes to manufacturing” and reinforces international competitiveness of our country.

 Computer K has attracted top-class specialists from different fields. To enhance collaboration with these specialists, Fujitsu is determined to pursue development of the front-line supercomputers, including the “next-generation supercomputer” with centuple speed. We believe fostering top-rated researchers will nurture various innovations that will make our society affluent and enhance our international competitiveness.

Big Data Revolution in our Everyday Life

September 18, 2013

Mr. Chikatomo Hodo
President, Accenture Japan Ltd.

 “Big data” has become one of the hottest topics today. According to the estimation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, active utilization of big data will generate economic effects worth 8 trillion yen. The government has identified “big data utilization” to be one of the key areas of its growth strategy.

 Massive amounts of data overflows throughout the world today at an unprecedented scale. It is said that 90% of the data accessible at present were generated within the past two years. Global data supply totaled 2.8 zettabytes last year which is equivalent to 600 billion DVDs of 2-hour-movie. The media coverage on “big data revolution” highlights social transformation that unfolds in our immediate surroundings by utilizing enormous amounts of data.

 Let me give you some examples on how big data serve to solve social challenges. High suicide rates have become a serious issue in South Korea. Preventive measures are implemented by analyzing various data, including messages posted on the internet, price fluctuations, unemployment rates, stock index and sunshine duration to identify high-risk periods.

 Business activities also profit from utilizing big data. For example, beverage manufacturers can develop a new product targeted for young women by analyzing various data on the product type young women purchase at certain times of a day or what they chat most about on the social media.

 Our individual communication style may also change drastically. For example, Google is likely to launch its wearable computer Google Glass. By adding the face authentication technology, we may be able to tell the age of a person in front of us or get his/her information posted on the internet.

 We must not overlook the down side of such revolutionary advancement. There are various risks, including leakage of personal information, vicious stalking or burglary. Some even claim that we are entering the “surveillance society.” This is exactly why the government and businesses in charge of data administration must take due measures to ensure transparency in protecting personal information. We, the individual users, are also held accountable for protecting our own information.

 Humans have long fulfilled our intellectual desires and kept making scientific progress by examining the causality of each event. The Universal Law of Gravitation was formulated by the question why apples fell from trees. From now on, however, we will examine the correlation between an event and its data to derive a conclusion, not its causality. In other words, big data will influence our thoughts and cognition. How to turn these big data into “better data” that contribute to the advancement of individuals, companies and society as a whole is a big challenge for us.