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Message from the Chair of the Department

About the Department of Statistical Science

Yoshihiko Miyasato, Chair of the Department of Statistical Science

The objective of statistical science is to take the complicated, uncertain phenomena and incomplete information found in our modern society and create logical deductions and predictions based on data in order to produce new knowledge, as well as to develop methodologies and principles for solving problems. A characteristic of this type of statistical science is its breadth: statistical science is not limited to narrow scientific and engineering fields, but embraces an extremely broad range of academic research, including the social sciences, such as economics, the humanities, medicine, and biology.

The Department of Statistical Science is the only graduate institute specializing in statistical science in Japan, and as one department in the School of Multidisciplinary Sciences in SOKENDAI (the Graduate University for Advanced Studies), the Department carries out educational and research activities pertaining to mathematical statistics. In fiscal 2006, the Department underwent an organizational change from a three-year doctoral program to a five-year doctoral educational program, and since then has comprised two different courses of study: the five-year doctoral program targets students and adults who have completed their undergraduate studies, and the three-year doctoral program targets students and professionals who have already obtained their master’s degree. Since 1988, when the department first opened, the discipline of statistical science has admitted not only students and professionals in the narrow field of statistics but also those with backgrounds in fields ranging from science to the humanities, reflecting the academic nature of statistical science. The program shapes and cultivates professionals who, after their graduation, will have active roles in a wide variety of fields, in academia and within society generally.

The Department of Statistical Science conducts educational and research activities, with the Institute of Statistical Mathematics (ISM) serving as its underlying platform. ISM was established in 1944 as a research institute reporting directly to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture for the purpose of conducting academic research in statistical science. Since then, it has undergone a number of transformations, becoming an inter-university research institute and then a corporate entity. In the course of these changes, the Institute has produced a large number of important research results in statistical science, among them developing and proposing the Akaike Information Criterion AIC, the theory of quantification, and the Monte Carlo filter (particle filter), to name just a few. As a result of these achievements, the Institute serves as a central research organization in mathematical statistics research not only in Japan but in the world at large, and has made a strong contribution to the advancement of academics. We presently have numerous projects underway, including those in data assimilation, survey science, machine learning, risk analysis, and service science, to state a few, and are engaged in cutting-edge research efforts. Not only can students in the Department of Statistical Science learn directly about these research projects, past and present, by attending research conferences, seminars, lectures, and research guidance, but they themselves can take an active part in cutting-edge research as members of a project team, contributing to the latest achievements of ISM, which is the fundamental organization supporting the Department. Through their work, students have access to a network of research connections that reaches broadly, including overseas.

For those of you who aspire to transcend established academic disciplines and create new scholarly systems, as well as to explore new deductions based on data to explain uncertain phenomena and act on those deductions, building statistical science in its broadest sense, and for those of you who have backgrounds in various fields and wish to be vital participants in this field of science, we sincerely urge you to join our team in the Department of Statistical Science.