Information Technology Center, The University of Tokyo

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Director’s greeting

IT “Foundation” Center

I often refer to the Information Technology Center as, in short, the “Foundation Center” in Japanese because the direct translation of its Japanese name is the Information Foundation Center. Not a few people around me do this either. Note that I do not shorten it to the Information Center or the IF Center. I do it to Foundation Center because that name sounds well in Japanese. But I also like the meaning.

Decades ago, if I said that the Information Technology Center is a center providing the “Foundation” for the university, you would say that my wording is too exaggerated. But what do you say today? Our information systems are now indispensable for our educational and research activities at The University of Tokyo. If the information systems stop for one day, the activities in U. Tokyo will also suspend on that day.

Information Technology Center is, as its name tells us, an organization that aims at actively conducting research and development to ensure that our information systems are always state-of-the-art. The center is also actively engaged in providing a stable supply of the foundation related to information for the university. The methodology for stable supply is also a research topic in the center.

The center consists of five divisions and one initiative: Campus-wide Computing Research Division, Data Science Research Division, Network Research Division, Supercomputing Research Division, Inter-disciplinary Information Science Research Division and Security Informatics Initiative. To offer the state-of-the-art “foundation” of our digital activities, those divisions and initiative collaborate with each other and also other institutions inside and outside the university. Furthermore, the center acts as the core institute of the Joint Usage/Research Center for Interdisciplinary Large-scale Information Infrastructure (JHPCN), a network of eight leading university IT centers in Japan.

These divisions and initiative cover a wide variety of foundations. This includes not only undisputed ones, supercomputing and computer networks, but also software/computer systems served as a gateway to information dissemination and exchange. A learning management system UTOL is also such a foundation. Another example is the mdx system, a system for sensing and collecting data in nature and human society, analyzing them and creating new values and information. A system for protecting those foundations from cyber attacks is also a foundation that the center covers.

Today everyone must have access to information systems. Just offering the foundations related to information is not adequate for the center’s mission. The center must provide user experience in a considerate manner for users who have different academic and/or social backgrounds. Developing human resources for digital technology is also the center’s responsibility. In those ways, the center will contribute to the university’s digital transformation.

Professor Shigeru Chiba
Director of Information Technology Center
The University of Tokyo