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Message from the director

Masaharu Munetomo, Director, Information Initiative Center

 Established in April 2003 through the integration of the Supercomputing Center and the Center for Information and Multimedia Studies, the Hokkaido University Information Initiative Center (IIC) promotes R&D aimed at advancing the university’s information infrastructure. In December 2018, the Center launched a new interdisciplinary large-scale computer system comprised of a supercomputer system and an inter-cloud system. The new supercomputer system boasts approximately four petaFLOPS of computational power—more than 20 times higher than that of the previous system—and is already used by many researchers as a user-friendly system that is both convenient and program-compatible. The system is currently operating at almost full capacity, and is being utilized for leading-edge joint research projects, for which ideas are gathered from the public nationwide under the Joint Usage/Research Center for Interdisciplinary Large-scale Information Infrastructures (JHPCN) and the High Performance Computing Infrastructure (HPCI). The Center has also been providing Hokkaido University High Performance Inter-cloud services that offer nationwide inter-cloud system infrastructure for coverage from Hokkaido to Kyushu as well as making large-scale, wide-area-distributed cloud system infrastructure available as a package users can apply for with just one click.

 The Center’s mission covers all information-related fields, including R&D on networks and security, and educational research utilizing content and media. In the six divisions that constitute the Center—the Supercomputing Research Division, the Information Network Research Division, the Digital Content Research Division, the Media Education Research Division, the System Design Research Division, and the Cyber Security Research Division—R&D making the most of the characteristics of individual divisions is being promoted. In addition, the Cyber Security Center established within the Center is promoting activities aimed at realizing safer and more secure information infrastructure.

 The social structure is currently going through sweeping changes due to the global spread of COVID-19. Infection prevention measures, such as the promotion of telecommuting and full implementation of remote meetings and distance learning, must be introduced by taking full advantage of ICT-related technologies. The Information Initiative Center established the ICT Planning and Technical Advisory Office in August 2020 to establish and operate campus network and cloud system services in close cooperation with the university’s Office for ICT Environment, lead the university’s cyber security measures and support the operation of educational computer systems for distance learning in cooperation with the Open Education Center. Although the pandemic has little influence on supercomputer and inter-cloud system services provided by the Center’s interdisciplinary computer systems that are used from remote locations via networks, the establishment and support of high-performance and secure networks for remote operation of experiment equipment and research data management will be a major challenge in the future for fields in which research activities are being delayed for infection prevention. The Center will make steady efforts to promote R&D as an institute truly necessary for the university and society as a whole mainly in academic fields as well as to keep pace with major social changes in the future. We look forward to your continued support of these efforts.

Masaharu Munetomo
Director, Information Initiative Center
August 1, 2020