It is the mission of RIEC to realize a new paradigm of communications that enriches people’s lives. Communication is important in various ways in human society. Information communication technology (ICT) has been changing the way we deal with information drastically, overriding our biological limitations and expanding the world of communication from among people to among things as well as between people and things. RIEC is determined to work for future society with further advanced ICT, contributing to the welfare of human beings by opening up a new era of academically rooted innovation befitting a university.
Since its foundation in 1935, RIEC has made a series of pioneering achievements in laying the foundations of modern information and communication technology, including magnetic recording systems, semiconductor devices and optical communication technologies, and has played a world-leading role. We cover the research fields of materials, devices, communication systems, networks, human and software engineering and sciences related to ICT to promote the fusion of research fields between hardware and software sciences and also the integration of the arts and sciences.
RIEC is organized into four research divisions, two laboratories, and one center. The three research facilities have different scopes in terms of research period: the divisions focus on long-term projects, the laboratories on medium-term projects, and the center on short-term projects. The Information Devices Division carries out research into materials and devices for communication technology. The Broadband Engineering Division specifically examines the development of new technologies for the transmission and storage of vast quantities of data. The Human Information Systems Division conducts research into intelligent information processing. The Systems and Software Division is developing advanced system software for the new information society.
There are two research laboratories. The Laboratory for Nanoelectronics and Spintronics is carrying out fundamental research into high-speed semiconductor devices and advanced nano-spin science and the Laboratory for Brainware Systems is working towards its long-term goal of the seamless fusion of real and virtual worlds at the human-computer interface. The Research Center for 21st Century Information Technology promotes short-term collaboration with the industrial or academic partners in fields developed in the research divisions.
We have been certified by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) as a Joint Usage/Research Center for collaborative research in information and communications technology and are engaging in joint research projects with outside researchers. Thanks to support and patronage, we achieved one of the highest rankings in the final evaluation in our 2nd term, and last year embarked on a 6-year 3rd term. We are soliciting a full range of joint research projects including those centered on collaboration with industry, on international development, and on younger researchers. This year we are conducting more than 130 joint research projects with more than 1,300 participants.
Since 2014 we have been promoting the government-funded Brainware LSI Project, which aims to create LSIs based on new concepts that are capable of human-like judgment. This program is creating advanced information processing LSIs, such as those of artificial intelligence, which can be used to apply artificial intelligence to real-world situations. Within the university, we are also expanding R&D projects centered around RIEC. In March 2010, Tohoku University established the Center for Spintronics Integrated Systems, where RIEC members and others are working on a collaborative project between industry, academia and government to develop low-power logic integrated circuits using spintronics technology with the support of the government’s ImPACT program. In October 2011, in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tohoku University resolved to set up the Research Organization of Electrical Communication under the leadership of RIEC. As one of the eight major projects underway at Tohoku University’s Institute for Disaster Reconstruction and Regeneration Research, research and development for the creation of disaster-tolerant ICT is being carried out through collaboration between industry, academia, and government. RIEC also played a key role in establishing the Center for Innovative Integrated Electronic Systems in 2012 to develop and realize advanced integrated systems on a chip. Furthermore, in 2016, two additional centers were established. One is the Yotta Informatics Research Center, which has been supported by the government from 2018, based on a project for handling the “quality” of information to meet challenges “beyond big data” involving researchers from both arts and sciences fields. The other is the Center for Spintronics Research Network, which was funded by the government to establish a worldwide network for spintronics research. Tohoku University is one of the four key universities (together with The University of Tokyo, Osaka University, and Keio University) to operate this network.
RIEC will respond to present-day needs, open up new worlds of communication for the future, work together with industry to create core technologies leading to the development of new industries, and through these efforts, will offer a world-class education environment. In addition to providing innovative solutions to problems through the application of ICT, we will continue to work hard to open up a new era of academically rooted innovation befitting a university and to contribute to the welfare of human beings by realizing a new paradigm of communications that enriches people’s lives.