About IMI

Message from the Director


Yasuhide Fukumoto (Director)
Institute of Mathematics for Industry, Kyushu University

October 1, 2014

The Institute of Mathematics for Industry (IMI) is the fifth research institute attached to Kyushu University. It was founded in April 2011 by reorganizing the Faculty of Mathematics. The IMI is an unparalleled institute in the world where pure and applied mathematics borderlessly cooperate with industry and various sciences. In April 2013, it was designated by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) 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 under the aegis of the Research Organization of Information and Systems, and the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences of Kyoto University.

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 and 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 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 utilizing data. The enlarged computability of fluid motion and material properties, from microscopic to macroscopic scales and up to macro, needs sharp mathematical modeling involving analyses and topology. The rigorous theoretical formulation and the rigorous thinking that are intrinsic to mathematics are very 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 fluid and versatile form, with a view to serving as the foundation for developing future technologies. The problems posed by requests from the industrial technologies sector are, though their targets are clear, in many cases yet to be formulated mathematically. History tells us that many useful technologies originated as a result of mathematical theories being created by flexible and free ideas, without consideration being given to their applications. While helping to solve problems requiring short-term resolution and to develop technologies currently in demand in cooperation with industry and other fields, the IMI promotes basic researches in mathematics that will serve as seeds for future innovative, difficult-to-foresee technologies. Industry is a treasure house of promising problems, and alliance with industry brings richness and deepness to mathematics. Furthermore, it is one of the missions of the IMI to use these outstanding research activities in education. The IMI nurtures young, independent MI researchers, endowed with high internationality and broad view, who will shoulder the future of technologies with creative researches.

Since the time of MEXT's 21st Century COE (Centers of Excellence) Program and Global COE Program, the unique promotion activities of Kyushu University's Graduate School of Mathematics, Kyushu University, have attracted attention, as exemplified by long-term internships (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 still a relative newcomer, 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. In 2014, its Optimization Group took first place in a world benchmark contest for graph processing to measure the performance of supercomputers in handling big data.

As plans for the near future, developing a novel approach to global development and advancing into the field of social science are in our view. In 2015, we will establish the IMI Australian Branch in La Trobe University (Melbourne). With this office as a base, we are planning to start cooperation with major research organizations of industry mathematics in Australia and New Zealand, which will feature strong activities in the field of agriculture and global environment problems. The IMI will take 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 substantiate its activities. Incidentally, various social systems, such as public facilities and delivery systems, have a strong need for mathematics to cooperate with social sciences, as represented by economics and psychology. Japan is behind in this respect. The IMI is making continuous efforts to develop as a unique global COE 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 associated researchers. We extend our sincere thanks to those who have in the past given us support and cooperation that have considerably aided our development, and earnestly request continued support for our future development.