About IMI

Message from the Director


Osamu Saeki (Director)
Institute of Mathematics for Industry, Kyushu University

October 1, 2018

The Institute of Mathematics for Industry (IMI) was born in April 2011 as the fifth research institute attached to Kyushu University, by reorganization of the Faculty of Mathematics. The IMI is a unique institute in the world where pure and applied Mathematics seamlessly cooperate with industry and various fields of science. In April 2013, it was designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan, as a “Joint Research Center for Advanced and Fundamental Mathematics-for-Industry”. It is the third Mathematics institute in Japan to be so designated, following the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Research Organization of Information and Systems, and the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Kyoto University. After IMI, Meiji Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences, Meiji University, was also so designated, and the four national institutes are collaborating each other to develop various research activities under the support of the mathematical community in Japan. Furthermore, IMI holds the MEXT-commissioned project “Advanced Innovation powered by Mathematics Platform (AIMaP)” (FY2017-2021) in trust, and is performing various activities aiming at a social system in which Mathematics can contribute much more efficiently in our society with the help of 12 institutes.

Since the late 20th century, the development of computers has changed the world. It has brought the field of Mathematics, which was once thought to be useless, to the forefront of industrial technology. Advanced information security technologies, such as cryptography, cannot be developed without number theory or algebraic geometry. In GPS car navigation systems, the theory of general relativity makes it possible to identify the position of a car with high precision. Realistic and smooth CG animations are highly dependent on differential geometry, representation theory, and integrable systems. Mathematical finance and financial engineering based on stochastic differential equations are moving global economics, whereby they even affect politics. In recent years, the use of big data has become a trend in various fields. It has become clear that the singularity theory, in addition to statistics and optimization theory, is useful for fully analyzing and visualizing data. The enlarged computability of fluid motion and material properties, from microscopic to macroscopic scales, needs sharp mathematical modeling involving analyses and topology. The rigorous theoretical formulation and the logical way of thinking that are intrinsic to Mathematics are highly compatible with computers.

Mathematics for Industry (MI) is a new research field in Mathematics. It was created by amalgamating and reorganizing pure and applied Mathematics into a flexible and versatile form, with a view to serving as the foundation for developing future technologies. Problems that emerge out of requirements of industrial sectors are, though their targets are clear, in many cases yet to be formulated mathematically. History tells us that many useful technologies originate in mathematical theories being created by flexible and free ideas, without any intension of application. While helping to solve problems requiring short-term solution and to develop technologies currently in demand in cooperation with industry and other fields, the IMI actively promotes basic and fundamental researches in Mathematics that will serve as seeds for future innovative, difficult-to-foresee technologies. This is one of the main characteristics of IMI. Industry is a treasure house of promising problems, and active interaction with industry brings richness and deepness to Mathematics. Furthermore, it is one of the important missions of the IMI to use these outstanding research activities for education. The IMI nurtures young, independent MI researchers, endowed with high international mind and broad view, who will shoulder the future of technologies with creative mathematical ideas. We also contribute to the Kyushu University undergraduate education in mathematical and data science.

Since the MEXT's 21st Century COE (Center of Excellence) Program and Global COE Program of the Graduate School of Mathematics, the unique activities of our graduate school have attracted attention of the mathematical community, such as Long-term Internships (for more than three months) at companies by doctoral students, MI Forums, Study Groups, etc. After the IMI was established, MI research shifted into high gear, with a rapid increase in collaborative research activities with industry. Though we still do not have a long history, the IMI has reached the top in a number of industrial Mathematics fields. In 2012, its Information Security Group established a world record for decryption in the area of pairing-based cryptography. Its Optimization Group got the first rank in world benchmark contests for graph processing to measure the performance of supercomputers in handling big data, 8 times in total (7 times consecutive since 2015).

As plans for the near future, we focus on developing a novel approach to global development and on advancing into the field of social sciences. In 2015, we established the IMI Australia Branch in La Trobe University (Melbourne). With this office as a base, we started cooperation with major research organizations of industrial Mathematics in Australia and New Zealand, which will feature strong activities in the field of agriculture and global environment problems. The IMI is taking the initiative in the Asia-Pacific Consortium of Mathematics for Industry (APCMfI), which covers a region with small time difference from Southeast Asia to Hawaii, including Oceania, and is promoting its activities. We are thus trying our best to establish a third worldwide hub of industrial Mathematics following American and European countries. Collaborating with the La Trobe Asia, La Trobe University, we plan to broaden such collaborations to social scientists in Kyushu University as well.

Nowadays various social systems, such as public facilities or delivery systems, have strong needs for harmonizing Mathematics with social sciences, such as economics and psychology. Unfortunately, Japan is behind in this respect. The IMI is making continuous efforts to develop as a unique global research and education hub by expanding the concept of MI to include agriculture, global environment problems and social sciences. As a MEXT Joint Usage/Research Center, the IMI also offers a platform and an opportunity for promoting interchange within the wide community that is associated with MI in one way or another, by adopting opinions of a broad range of researchers. We extend our sincere thanks to those who have given us support and help that have considerably accelerated our development, and would like to earnestly request continuous support for our future development.