Mathematicians, firms to help govt solve social issues using AI

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

The education ministry plans to establish intermediary centers at two universities to connect mathematics researchers with businesses and local governments. The plan aims to make use of mathematicians in solving social issues because the field of mathematics is a foundation of artificial intelligence and big data.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry is considering including the plan in its budget request for next fiscal year.

The use of AI and big data is spreading rapidly, creating more situations, in fields such as image processing, cryptography and finance, in which mathematical knowledge is required. In some countries like the United States and Britain, where mathematics is regarded as indispensable for the development of all science and technology, there have been active moves to set up relevant research institutes and investments.

The ministry aims to set up one center each in eastern and western Japan. The envisaged centers will serve as intermediaries between sectors such as industry and mathematicians at universities nationwide. By accelerating industry-government-academia cooperation and reinvesting the revenue generated from the collaboration in academia, the ministry hopes to enhance the research environment for mathematics.

Examples of solving issues of public concern with the use of mathematics include the development of AI that supports diagnostic technology by synthesizing the experience and techniques of skilled doctors into algorithms, and also the development of new materials. AI also has been used by local governments to select applicants for admission to daycare facilities. The envisaged centers will handle these issues and introduce solutions proposed by mathematical researchers.