Message from Director-General

Tomoyuki Higuchi

November 6, 2015

Tomoyuki Higuchi

The Institute of Statistical Mathematics

The Institute of Statistical Mathematics (hereinafter, ISM) was founded in 1944, not long before the end of World War II. Its original stated purpose was “to provide supervision for studies looking into the mathematical principles of probability and their application, and to facilitate, unify, and promote the publication of research results”. Ever since its establishment, at a time of very conscious awareness of the realities of the world, ISM has steadily absorbed this attitude into its DNA, as it has contributed to the deeper understanding and advancement of statistical mathematics. We enter the final year of our second medium-term planning period as an Inter-University Research Institute Corporation, at a time when national research and educational institutions are facing a variety of pressing challenges, and so we are thinking ahead to our third medium-term goals and plans next year, through active consultation and exploration of how we can provide the greatest value to the various communities that we serve as an Inter-University Research Institute.

Following on from my first term (four years), I have been appointed as Director-General of ISM for a further term of two years, beginning this year. In my first four years, I focused much of my modest energies in getting ISM’s two biggest projects—“NOE (Network Of Excellence) Project” and “Project for Fostering and Promoting Statistical Thinking”—off the ground and up and running stably. I would say that in terms of fulfilling ISM’s duty as one of the Inter-University Research Institutes, which is “to advance joint usage and joint research functions”, we’re proud of the results that we have achieved.

Two of the main points of our operation policy in this final year of the second medium-term planning period are “consolidating organizational strength” and “promoting concrete collaborative initiatives with other institutes”. To address the first of these goals, at the start of my second term as Director-General, we have reshuffled the personnel of executive directors of ISM by adding some younger people than those whom we have had in the past, to tackle the running of ISM with fresh, new energy. Under this new system, we are working on a variety of improvement measures, such as reorganizing an Information and Public Relations Unit, providing URA (University Research Administrator) functions to various sections of ISM, and increasing the organizational capabilities of our administration.

On the point of “promoting concrete collaborative initiatives with other institutes”, we make available our supercomputer systems newly introduced over the previous year to the various communities—including by means of participating in the innovative “High-Performance Computing Infrastructure (HPCI)” project to provide one of our supercomputer system as the first Inter-University Research Institute, and we deepen our relationships with national university-affiliated research institutes and centers across Japan, National Research and Development Agencies, academic societies and education-related organizations through the “Coop with Math Program”, a program undertaken on contract for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and also through the “Data Scientist Training Network”. These activities lead to the formulation of concrete collaborative initiatives. In addition, we make a special effort to connect with the research divisions of private companies, using “Data Science Research Plaza”, the new program of “Project for Fostering and Promoting Statistical Thinking”. Furthermore, in the previous year we have begun the construction for expanding our guesthouse, which has proved very fruitful in helping us to invite outstanding researchers from overseas. The five additional apartments will be completed by the end of September this year. The guesthouse facility is expected to play a much more important role in our collaborative programs with overseas institutes.

We expect that steering the operations of ISM will be very challenging, both in terms of research and also management in the difficult circumstances in these years. Nevertheless, “statistical mathematics”, which joins various elements of technology and science and other fields, is indispensable in this “Big Data” Era. We try to explain the vital importance of ISM’s research work more widely, and we are committed to making a fruitful contribution to society. We look forward to your wholehearted understanding and support.