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ERCIM and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) have organised the first joint symposium on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, held on 18 and 19 February 2021. The online symposium aimed to present recent results of research conducted in the context of the JST CREST programme, as well as relevant research results from European institutions. The meeting provided the opportunity to the participants from Japan and Europe to familiarize themselves with recent research results and consider collaboration prospects that will arise in the context of the Horizon Europe framework programme or relevant initiatives from JST. Approximatively 80 invited participants attended the event.

Ms. Hiroko Tatesawa, Manager, ICT Group, Department of Strategic Basic Research, JST, introduced JST. JST, as one of the national Japanese funding agencies has about 1200 employees and an annual budget of 122.4 billion Yen (about 950 million Euro), of which about two thirds are allocated to funding programmes including strategic basic research, international collaborations, industry-acedemia collaboration and technology transfer. ERCIM President Dr. Björn Levin (RISE), then gave an overview on the activities of ERCIM.

With nine short talks, JST delivered an overview of CREST Program on Big Data Applications:

  • Development of a knowledge-generating platform driven by big data in drug discovery through production processes by Dr. Makoto Taiji, (on Account for Kimito Funatsu (PI))
  • Big data assimilation and AI: Creating new development in real-time weather prediction by Dr. Takemasa Miyoshi, RIKEN Center for Computational Science
  • Establishing the advanced disaster reduction management system by fusion of real-time disaster simulation and big data assimilation by Prof. Shunichi Koshimura, International Research Institute of Disaster Science,Tohoku Univ.
  • Exploring etiologies, sub-classification, and risk prediction of diseases based on big-data analysis of clinical and whole omics data in medicine, by Prof. Tatsuhiko Tsunoda,  Graduate School of Science, Univ. of Tokyo
  • Early detection and forecasting of pandemics using large-scale biological data: designing intervention strategy by Prof. Kimihito Ito (on Account for Hiroshi Nishiura (PI)), Division of Bioinformatics, Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Hokkaido Univ.
  • Statistical computational cosmology with big astronomical data by Prof. Naoki Yoshida, Department of Physics/Kavli IPMU, Univ. of Tokyo
  • Data-driven analysis of the mechanism of animal development by Shuichi Onami, RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research
  • Knowledge Discovery by Constructing AgriBigData by Masayuki Hirafuji, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Univ. of Tokyo
  • Scientific Paper Analysis: Knowledge Discovery through Structural Document Understanding by Yuji Matsumoto, RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project.

The CREST programme is one of JST’s major undertakings for stimulating achievement in fundamental science fields.

From ERCIM, three 20 minutes presentations were given:

  • Scalable computing infrastructures: Keeping up with data growth by Prof. Angelos Bilas, FORTH
  • Security, Privacy and Explainability for ML Models by Prof. Andreas Rauber, SBA Research and TU Wien and by Dr. Rudolf Mayer, SBA Research
  • IoT - Big Data, Privacy: Resolving the contradiction by Rigo Wenning, Legal counsel, W3C.

The first day concluded with a presentation “AI and HPC” given by Prof. Satoshi Matsuoka, Director, RIKEN Center for Computational Science. In his talk, Prof. Matsuoka presented “Fugaku”, the largest and fastest exascale supercomputer, how it is built and used for applications and experiments. These include for example the exploration of new drug candidates for COVID-19, a digital twin of the entire smart city of Fugaku as a shareable smart city R&D environment, and unprecedented deep learning scalability for AI developments. 

The second day started with three more 20 minutes presentations from European researchers:

  • Big Data Trends and Machine Learning in Medicinal Chemistry by Prof.  Jürgen Bajorath, Prof., Univ. Bonn
  • Data security and privacy in emerging scenarios by Prof. Sara Foresti, Univ. Milano
  • Using Narratives to Make Sense of Data by Dr. Carlo Meghini, CNR.

Dr. Katsumi Emura, Director of AIP Network Laboratory, JST gave at talk “Promoting innovation with advanced research ecosystem - Introduction of JST AIP Network Laboratory”. The AIP Network Laboratory is a virtual laboratory with teams in the fields of AI, big data, IoT, and cyber security under the JST Strategic Basic Research Program. This talk was followed by five short overviews of some other JST CREST Programs in the ICT area: 

  • Introduction for the research area of Core Technologies for Advanced Big Data Integration Program by Prof. Masaru Kitsuregawa, Director-General, National Institute of Informatics, Univ. of Tokyo
  • A Future Society Allowing Human-Machine Harmonious Collaboration by Prof. Norihiro Hagita, Art Science Department, Osaka University of Arts
  • Symbiotic Interaction Research toward Society of Human and AI  by Prof. Kenji Mase Graduate School of Informatics, Nagoya Univ.
  • Towards the Next Generation IoT Systems by  Prof. Emeritus Hideyuki Tokuda, President, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)
  • Fundamental Information Technologies toward Innovative Social System Design by Prof. Sadao Kurohashi, Graduate School of Informatics. Kyoto Univ.

Prof. Masashi Sugiyama, Director, RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligent Project, Univ. of Tokyo then gave a keynote talk entitled “Fundamental Machine Learning Research Opens Up New AI Society”. He presented the RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project and machine learning as the core research challenge of current AI.

The last presentation of the symposium was given by Dr. Fosca Giannotti, CNR on “Explainable Machine Learning for Trustworthy AI”.

The symposium was organised and chaired by Prof. emeritus Yuzuru Tanaka, Hokkaido University, Prof. emeritus Nicolas Spyratos, Université Paris - Saclay, and Prof. Dimitris Plexousakis, FORTH-ICS and University of Crete. They closed the symposium with the wish to continue the cooperation between ERCIM and JST.

More information:  
Programme and links to slides and recorded presentations:

Please contact:
Prof. Dimitris Plexousakis, Director FORTH-ICS, Greece

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