(TOKYO – November 4th, 2009) Today, at the Computing in the 21st Century Conference, Microsoft Research (MSR) announced the launch of the Mt. Fuji Plan – a comprehensive platform for collaboration with Japan’s academic community. Beginning with a multimillion dollar investment, this long-term collaboration will focus on developing advanced computing technologies that change the way we work and live.
“Together, Microsoft and Japan’s academic community will rethink computing and its power to turn social challenges into economic opportunities,” said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research. “The Mt. Fuji Plan represents our commitment to technological exploration. as well as our confidence in Japan’s future.”
The Mt. Fuji Plan, building on Microsoft’s strong record of technological collaboration with leading academics in Japan, is comprised of four pillars: research collaboration, fostering talent, academic exchanges, and curriculum innovation.
Through Microsoft’s Collaborative Research Projects (CORE) program, researchers in Japan are invited to submit proposals for potential collaborative research initiatives. Microsoft will provide financial and technological support for leading academics to explore new computing capabilities, from robotics to speech and natural language processing, and from data synthesizing to mobile and cloud capabilities. Technological advances in these fields help to tackle key social challenges by creating economic opportunities in crucial industries such as health care, energy, and education.
According to Dr. Sadaoki Furui, director of the Academic Advisory Committee in Japan, “The Mt. Fuji Plan is about researching and exploring the computing technologies that will define tomorrow. I believe that this collaboration between Microsoft Research and the Japanese research community will create unique technological assets and exciting economic opportunities.”
Microsoft has a proud history of fostering world-class talent through its global fellowship and internship programs. Over the years, MSR has hosted and mentored more than 5,000 students and research interns. The Mt. Fuji Plan will provide new opportunities for young talent in Japan to work with Microsoft on cutting-edge computing research. In addition, the Mt. Fuji Plan sponsors an annual MSR Japan New Faculty Award to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding new academic faculty. Two young Japanese professors, Dr. Atsushi Igarashi and Toshihiro Kamiya, were recipients of the 2009 Japan New Faculty Award.
“The energy that Microsoft Research devotes to encouraging the scientific pursuits of young Japanese academics is remarkable,” said Dr. Makoto Nagao, director of National Diet Library of Japan and chairman of the MSR Japan New Faculty Award screening committee. “By working together, we believe we can cultivate a new generation of talented researchers that will extend Japan’s technological legacy well into this new century.”
As part of the Mt. Fuji Plan, MSR will regularly exchange creative ideas, technological information and research results with academics from across Japan. One such academic exchange platform is the Computing in the 21st Century Conference. For the event, nearly 1,000 academics, industry leaders, researchers, students, and journalists are expected to convene at Keio University and Kyoto University – on November 4 and November 6, respectively – to exchange perspectives on the theme “Three Screens and One Cloud: Rethinking Computing.”
“We’re honored to partner with Microsoft in hosting this prestigious conference,” remarked Dr. Toshiaki Makabe, vice president of Keio University. “We are excited about future collaboration with Microsoft Research as we bring together the world’s brightest minds to create the brightest possible future.”
To meet the demand of the academic community and to train a new generation of researchers and technical professionals, Microsoft Research supports developing curricula for new areas in computer science such as robotics, search, and data mining. MSR researchers also collaborate with faculty members in computer science and related disciplines to improve teaching content and explore innovative teaching methods. In addition, MSR promotes new ways of learning by adopting the latest technologies in the student’s learning experience.