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NTT and OIST agree on comprehensive research collaboration to realize a sustainable AI society: Joint efforts in environmental, quantum, and neurosciences


NTT and Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in research fields such as environmental science, quantum science, and neuroscience with the aim of realizing a sustainable society. They share a vision of a sustainable society in which humans, science and technology, and the natural environment are closely interconnected. Through basic research, they hope to clarify the principles of natural phenomena and the mechanisms of human emotions to solve environmental problems and maximize wellbeing.

OIST promotes marine science research in the sea of Okinawa to address issues such as climate change and biodiversity maintenance. Researchers at OIST also conduct a wide range of basic research, including nanoscience, quantum chemistry, materials science, photonics, and neuroscience. Their research results are among the highest in the world and are highly evaluated both nationally and internationally. For example, OIST was ranked first in Japan (ninth in the world) in the normalized ranking of the Nature Index, which indicates the percentage of excellent papers.

NTT is working to significantly reduce the electricity use from previous levels in its IOWN (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network) development. NTT promotes research and development to replace all electrical processing in the communication path and computing processing with light. The company also promotes research and development of technologies aiming at zero environmental impact and focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Katsuhiko Kawazoe (left), Senior Executive Vice President of NTT, and Dr. Karin Markides, President and CEO of OIST.
Provided by NTT

NTT and OIST have launched and collaborated on a number of pioneering research projects, including one for improving the accuracy of typhoon forecasts by optimizing ocean and atmospheric observations and data analysis. In this new comprehensive research collaboration, the two parties will combine their various technologies and work together from basic research toward the realization of a sustainable society. They will integrate advanced technologies such as marine genomics, optical sensors, and underwater acoustic technology to study the sea around Okinawa in the field of environmental science; quantum physics, quantum information processing, quantum communication, and optical device technologies in the field of quantum science; and neuroscience research, brain science research, and bio-device research in field of neuroscience.

Based on the desire of both NTT and OIST researchers to collaborate on cutting-edge research, management teams of the two parties will support continuing efforts to explore new areas that are consistent with their respective research areas. Moving forward, they aim to return value to society through AI modeling of the theoretical knowledge gained in collaboration for realization of a sustainable society.

NTT has named the architecture in which various AIs are connected and interact with each other "AI Constellation," and intends to realize a sustainable society by linking AI models that reproduce various natural phenomena and human emotions and applying them to various social issues. Mr. Katsuhiko Kawazoe, Representative Member of the Board and Senior Executive Vice President (CTO) of NTT, said, "NTT envisions "AI Constellation" where diverse AIs are interconnected. By connecting AIs via IOWN, we anticipate the rapid generation of collective knowledge. Through foundational research in collaboration with OIST, we will be able to clarify the principles of natural phenomena and human emotions. At that point, we can create a group of AIs that accurately replicate various natural phenomena and human experiences based on these principles. By achieving this diversity of AIs and enabling their mutual interactions, we can create 'digital twins' that capture the truth and fact of the real world and accurately replicate it."

Dr. Karin Markides, President and CEO of OIST, said, "OIST is thrilled to embark on this partnership with NTT, a globally leading telecommunications company renowned for its extensive R&D activities. Both of our institutions recognize that fundamental research across diverse scientific fields serves as the foundation for new discoveries that can solve pressing global problems. The convergence of advanced technologies, from genomics to AI to quantum computing and sensors, has opened a multitude of avenues for scientific inquiry, enabling us to study the planet and ourselves in a holistic and interconnected manner. With our combined expertise through this top level, institutional partnership, OIST and NTT can pursue a portfolio of collaborative projects that will have far greater potential impact than any single research effort alone. OIST looks forward to a long and prosperous partnership with NTT."

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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