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>>Current State and Trends in Related Research Areas Home and Abroad
A main challenge today in the field of networking concerns technological developments for wider coverage of broadband and Ubiquitous systems and for improved information security, as these areas will undoubtedly form the basis of new information services. For broadband and Ubiquitous systems, mobile and wireless communication with a 100Mbps bandwidth or greater will be essential. Concerning security, systematic studies based on a verifiable approach are widely recognized as an important task. Only with the adoption of such an approach, rather than proposing and testing individual techniques separately ? a method still predominant in our country ? it becomes possible to promote the e-Japan Project and to make a significant contribution to CSIRT, an international body working for better solutions to Internet security problems.

Similarly, researchers of media content have so far largely concerned themselves with separate subdomains such as image processing, sound processing, natural language processing and robotics etc., and concentrated on exploring ways to automate machine operations or replace human operations. However, now that the vast improvement in base technologies and processing speed has made real-time processing a reality, research envisaging a new era is taking shape both in Japan and abroad, i.e. research in the direction of supporting human intellectual activities (mixed and augmented reality, multi-modal interface, web search, robot as a human partner etc.) through real-time interactions, not only machine-human interactions but also interpersonal interactions using computers (e.g. MIT, CMU, North Carolina University, Washington University, Technical University of Munich, Tsukuba University, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tokyo University and NAIST).

Considering this climate, it is likely that Ubiquitous Media Computing will form a mainstream trend worldwide, as it aims to integrate network implementation technologies and creative media content, both of which are considered key areas for the e-Japan Project.

>>Target Research Achievements
Technologies for mobile networking and media content creation are among the areas for which Japan is internationally regarded as one of the most advanced. Our COE program aims to establish a strong research tradition with an international scope by combining these two technological strengths for which Japan is already renowned. Our aspiration is to lead the world in developing cutting-edge technologies, giving rise to new industries thereby. Specifically, information systems based on the new generation network technology that can assist human activities anywhere and the robot that “lives with" human partners and assists them with various everyday tasks (which, incidentally, represents a uniquely Japanese concept) are examples for which we could expect further developments. The effort to produce top level results and achieve technological progress is certainly worthwhile purely from an academic viewpoint. However, it should also be stressed that the social significance and impact of these research efforts are of great consequence as the nation of Japan strives to achieve intellectual independence in areas of research which have huge market potential, a condition on which the future success of the e-Japan Project depends.

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