Message from IPSJ President

Message from IPSJ President

Designing the Future with Society

  -- Upon assuming the Office of President --

  Shojiro Nishio
Shojiro Nishio
(President, Information Processing Society of Japan / Osaka University)
(from "IPSJ Magazine" Vol. 58, No. 7, pp.560-561 (2017))

With the strong backing of the successive generations of previous Presidents, Vice Presidents, Auditors and Directors, all our current officers, the secretariat, and members, I would like to take this time to not only express my feelings of gratitude, but also the heavy responsibility I feel I must bear as the 29th President of the Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ). It is my intention as President to contribute to the development of our organization together with all our members by implementing the following “five pillars of design” for the future of our society:

Our responsibility towards society

Last year, Japan began the 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan to implement the goals of a “Super Smart Society,” or Society 5.0, by making full use of the latest data processing technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Big Data Analysis. This is the long awaited opportunity for us to maximize our full potential and prove the importance of our organization for society. I believe that it is our duty to seize this chance to guide societal change (innovation) in the right direction and contribute to the creation of new social value.
We must bear in mind that this is a critical moment for IPSJ, as this opportunity presents a new challenge to our organization: if we are unable to meet the expectations of society, the public may lose faith in our field.

Securing greater participation through increased membership to meet the expectations of society

The global issues faced by society today are increasingly complex and interconnected. The rapid advancement of data processing technology has resulted in the transformation of the industrial structure as it moves from “vertical integration” to “horizontal integration.” This change is something our organization must embrace so we can perform our new role demanded by society. We must now ask ourselves not how to solve problems, but move to the root of the issue by asking what we need to solve, and why those problems arose in the first place. I would like IPSJ to spearhead this movement through “co-creation”: the creation of open and free collaboration with various stakeholders in society.

As President, I would like to invigorate IPSJ’s areas of “co-creation” through increased opportunities for discussions and exchanges of ideas among members from industry, government, academia, and the public, thereby strengthening the orchestration of all members in fields of data processing. Through this, our vision and aspiration to promote “Orchestration for Co-creation” can go beyond Japan as our organization enhances our global outreach and activities to “Design the Future.”

To achieve our goals, it is essential for us to show a great presence as an academic association to society through collaboration with diverse stakeholders. To that end, it is imperative that we increase our membership. Now, it has decreased to about 20,000. When I had the chance to serve under the previous Presidents, President Furukawa and President Kitsuregawa as the Vice President, we were able to curb the decrease in membership through a drive to encourage student participation. I would like to use that experience to maintain and increase members.

Planning and hosting attractive events and programs

Over the years, IPSJ has succeeded in organizing attractive events and programs such as Special Interest Groups, National Convention, Software Japan, and Forum on Information Technology. As a result, an increasing number of researchers and specialists from industry have participated in Software Japan and engaged in discussions concerning AI technology and Big Data analysis. IPSJ-ONE, a talk event for young researchers at the last National Convention is another good example. High school, junior high school, and undergraduate students gathered there to listen to ground-breaking research by young researchers who were nominated by each Special Interest Group. The event was broadcast live using Nico Nico Live (a media site similar to YouTube).

It is these kinds of attractive events we need to plan and organize to demonstrate the appeal of our field and organization to the next generation of students and scholars.

Nurturing world-leading researchers and specialists

Recently, the presence of Japan in the information technology field worldwide seems to be waning. The number of researchers and specialists from Japan who are involved in the planning and organization of top international conferences and academic journals has decreased. As a result, we may be losing the international profile we once had.

We must reverse this trend by nurturing world-leading researchers and specialists for the future. A goal such as this must be one of our top priorities, as it is essential to maintain and improve our country's research and technological capacity. To that end, we must encourage our senior members and mid-career professionals to enhance their international activities and to pass on their experience and know-how to the younger generation. I believe that it is the responsibility of our society to continue this trans-generational knowledge transfer and function as a place where such a support cycle takes place.

Furthermore, I want to conduct a study to plan and propose new educational systems and programs to nurture groundbreaking researchers and specialists who can lead the field in the world. I also want to strengthen our connection between Asia, Europe and the Americas by promoting our international programs and collaborative activities.

Strengthening activities for the next generation

Renewing the pathway between high schools and universities is considered extremely important in ongoing national discussions concerning the reform of university education and the system of university entrance exams. Just the other day, on March 20th, I participated in “Informatics as a Subject of High School Education and the University Entrance Examination in 2025” symposium held in Osaka, organized by the Committee on University Admissions Reform of MEXT, and gave a speech on behalf of the organizers. The symposium was a huge success, and drew a full house. Particularly notable was the enthusiastic participation of many high school teachers who also actively engaged in discussions. Our society is among the key partners in this initiative and is expected to take on a larger role to strengthen activities concerning Informatics for university entrance exams and Informatics as a high school subject.

Our society can use these kinds of networking opportunities to introduce attractive programs and innovative research output of our society to primary, junior high and high school students. I hope these encounters with informatics will inspire the bearers of tomorrow’s data processing endeavors.

As mentioned, our society has a heavy social responsibility to uphold. While shouldering our social role, we must also promote activities that appeal to the younger generation. For that purpose, we must unite as one and strive to create a vibrant and forward-looking community that is focused on these five pillars of design for the future of Informatics.
Apr.27, 2017