Since its foundation as the one and only national institute of statistics in Japan, the Institute of Statistical Mathematics has continued to exert a distinguished influence on the study and research of statistical science. The ever-increasing needs for statistical methods and ideas in various fields of science and technology led the Institute to reorganize itself in 1985 as an inter-university research institute which puts a major emphasis on research collaboration with all disciplines of science. In 1997, in the prospect of fostering collaborative research projects even more effectively and intensifying the impact of statistical science within academia, industry, and government, the Institute restructured its two attached centers and established positions for foreign researchers as visiting professors.

At present, the Institute consists of four departments, three centers, a council, and a committee. All the Institute's activity is guided by the leadership of the Director-General and three Vice Director-Generals. The Council of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics implements any necessary recommendations. The Cooperative Research Committee organizes and facilitates collaborative research projects developed between scholars of the Institute and scientists in other academic agencies.

The four departments:

form the active core of the Institute with its 54 academic staff, carrying out research either on statistical theory or on its application to other fields of science and industry. The Dept. of Fundamental Statistical Theory and its four divisions address the fundamental aspects of theoretical statistics. In the six divisions of the Dept. of Statistical Methodology, efforts are concentrated on improving statistical methods and creating new techniques for analysis. The seven divisions of the Dept. of Prediction and Control are specifically concerned with development of innovative approaches to understand and control phenomena of a stochastic nature. The Dept. of Interdisciplinary Statistics, with its three divisions, is set up in order to transfer methodological developments to other disciplines and to receive, in turn, impetus that urges the creation of new statistical methods.

The strategic research center, Prediction and Knowledge Discovery Research Center, was established in 2003 and performed project researches on molecular evolution, dynamic-magnetosphere modeling and statistical seismology.

The two other centers attached to the Institute have the aim of supplementing its activities. As of April 1997, their names and structures have changed in order to stimulate cross-disciplinary statistical research and to provide researchers both inside and outside the Institute with adequate computational and informational resources.

The Center for Development of Statistical Computing consists of two divisions. Together they undertake research on statistical computing, and also facilitate the use of computers and network connections. The Center for Information on Statistical Sciences encourages research collaboration, publicizes research findings through journals and the internet, and seeks to cultivate statistical thinking in the general public. The Center has an additional division for foreign visiting professors.

More detailed descriptions of the objectives of each department and center are presented in the next chapter. The information covers research subjects and the interests of staff ranging from physical sciences and the life sciences through to social and cultural sciences.

(View of the Institure from inside of its courtyard)

In addition to the departments and centers, the Institute has a section of 12 technical staff that work on special jobs including maintenance of computer systems and bibliographical services. The Institute has an excellent library of books and journals, not only in pure statistics, but also in fields of specific interest to researchers (e.g. physics, genetics, and social sciences). Lastly, there is also a division of 14 officials who take care of general affairs.

The Institute devotes itself to educating young statisticians as well. As a constituent of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (Department of Statistical Science, School of Multidisciplinary Sciences), the Institute offers graduate programs leading to a Ph.D. degree. (See Supplement on page 77.)

In April 2004, the Institute begun a new chapter as a member of the Research Organization of Information and Systems, Inter-University Research Institute Corporation, together with three other institutes, National Institute of Informatics, National Institute of Genetics and National Institute of Polar Research.

(The numbers of staff mentioned above refer to their full strength on March 31st, 2005.)