Diverse research and development
   
Large-Scale Computation System Research Division
 
Development and support for use of Jet  FDTD
 Jet  FDTD, which is a large-scale electromagnetic field analysis system for high-performance computer systems characterized by a high capacity and high-speed processing, is being developed. This application software is useful for device design in frequency bands of more than several hundred MHz and evaluation/analysis of indoor radio wave propagation. Using Jet  FDTD on the Center’s supercomputer enables high-precision simulation within a reasonable elapsed time. The figures on the right show the indoor propagation property of a wireless LAN access point at a frequency of 5,200 MHz visualizing electric field distribution and poynting vectors. Assuming that spatial resolution is 5 mm, the analysis results of a model consisting of 23 billion grids can be obtained within 20 hours.
 
 Services that allow supercomputer users to use the application software and support for program development are also provided.
 
High performance computing for computational science
 Research on high-performance computing is being conducted various simulations computer.
 

 One of main research targets is developing a high-performance linear iterative solver, which can be utilized in numerical analyses such as finite element analyses.
 
 Other research targets include development of software frameworks and libraries to support computational science on a supercomputer. A high-end supercomputer is becoming a larger-scale or more complex computer system. Therefore, to use the supercomputer effectively, tools and libraries to help users' programming are demanded. Under this circumstance, we are developing a software framework for large-scale boundary element analyses and a high performance Poisson equation solver based on the multi-grid method.
 
Digital Contents Research Division
 
 While an increasing amount of academic information is now made public with the progress of digital technology that moves the boundary between academism and creativity, there are more and more cases of insufficient utilization of contents due to the lack of appropriate presentation and use methods. To solve this problem, research is being conducted to develop methods to convert contents automatically into teaching materials, promote autonomous study using such materials, introduce creative approaches to academism and to integrate creator education with university education.
 
Research toward the practical use of an inter-cloud system
 Research is being promoted to realize an “inter-cloud system” that will serve as the basis to freely create information systems required by researchers through nationwide networking of private and public clouds owned by universities and research institutes.
 
 Specific research efforts include optimization of resource allotment on the inter-cloud system, virtual private cloud (VPC) creation technology, authentication cooperation and other management/operation technologies.
 
Information Network Research Division
 
Visualization of information networks
 Research is being conducted on visualization systems to support communications using messages tied to “objects” by connecting networks and augmented reality (AR). One of these systems is the AR book retrieving system. The desired book can be visually located by simply pointing a smart phone camera linked with the cloud-based database at shelves in libraries and other places. As the system also makes it possible to attach messages to books, it is expected to form a new social network based on encounters with books. The Division’s R&D efforts also include a system to visualize behavior on an SNS site in a virtual reality city space by mapping the complex following relations on Twitter and other enormous SNS sites.
 
Big data analysis
 In an increasingly computerized society associated with the popularization of the Internet, enormous amounts of information are constantly generated. Such large and complex data sets have recently been called big data, and accurate extraction of useful content from such data is an extremely important challenge.
 

 To achieve this, it is considered necessary to follow approaches that extend beyond conventional methods in statistics or informatics.
 
 Therefore, symbolic data analysis is attracting attention as a paradigm that treats analysis data as diverse complexes (e.g., aggregates or distributions) instead of simple rows of numerical values. Research topics include the extension and application of existing data analysis technologies, as well as the development of analysis methods applicable to big data, such as the method applicable to data consisting of an aggregate of multiple distributions as shown in the figure. Efforts are also being made to apply this technology to actual data in the fields of information networks, business management and medical science.
 
Media Education Research Division
 
Sophistication of information education/information ethics education
 R&D is conducted on the learning methods, contents and other aspects of information education that are compulsory for all students at Hokkaido University.
 
 In information ethics education, effective education methods for both domestic and international students are explored using videos and comics, and a method of using one-frame comics is also studied to identify and raise students’ awareness of relevant issues.
 
Evaluation and support of learning aspects using ICT
 Research is being conducted on the formation of learning contents using ICT and learning assessment in large-group education, with special focus on cooperative learning using multistage peer assessment between a large number of learners.
 
Support of education in hospital schools and R&D using information media and networks
 Hospital schools have children of different grades who are hospitalized and treated depending on their individual conditions. Such children tend to be in isolated situations both spatially and mentally.
 
 To establish an open advanced education environment, consistent research efforts on informatization of and educational support for hospital schools, such as research on communication tools to facilitate communication between hospitalized children and the outside world, are being made.
 
Research and practice concerning open education
 Research and practice concerning open education, including OpenCourseWare, are provided. Flipped classroom is implemented to information education for undergraduate students.