Yating ZHANG (Social Information Model Division)
from People’s Republic of China
“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”
― Jamie Paolinetti
I came from China and started my Doctor course since October 2013 at Tanaka Laboratory under Graduate School of Informatics in Kyoto University. Before I came to Japan, I achieved my Master degree in Carnegie Mellon University in the US. Just at the moment I got off the plane and started the completely new life in Japan, I haven’t thought about that I can have such a wonderful experience in another foreign country.
Ever since the time I became familiar with data mining, I have been particularly fascinated by its capabilities for finding the regularity of a fact, identifying the pattern of an event and tracking the development of an affair. It is a process just as if you were picking the most special seashell you are interested in on the beach where considerable sand and dregs might make you distracted. Simply speaking, the soul and goal of data mining is to quickly find the optimal seashell from billions of noisy perspectives. Just as what I have learned during Master course, being a Doctor made me train myself about the individual thinking, spirit of criticism and sense of creativity. Thanks to the professors in our lab who are combined with such good capabilities, especially Tanaka Sensei, his always asking again and again made me become stronger in criticizing myself at any time and never give up of thinking.
As for the research topics, I am interested in analyzing the time series data, such as news archives and historical dataset. For example, what I have done is to build the connection between the past and the current by searching for the temporal counterpart. For instance, the user is trying to find what the music device popularly used 20 years ago. Since he might not know the name as a keyword for searching but only know “iPod” in current days, so our contribution is to build the gap by automatically suggesting the temporal counterpart of “iPod” that is the “Walkman” 20 years ago, which supports the users of further searching task. Another interesting topic that I am doing is to detect the implication relationship between physical evolution of object and the conceptual evolution of object. Intuitively, our objective is to detect how the change of technology influences our social life so that our techniques could support the historian’s work and also predict the future.
Our lab has a very good routine to have twice-a-week lab meetings so that we can exchange ideas and get feedback from professors very efficiently. Also thanks to Tanaka Sensei’s generosity, we have many chances to attend the national and international conferences, where I learned a lot and met a lot of researchers and professionals, which made me to think I still have a long way to go on the path of research. Additionally, the routine of free asking and answering is far better in our lab that we always have heated discussions during every lab presentation.
We think our researches are useful because it can be applied in the industry and solve some problems occurring in social life. In that sense, our lab has very good collaborations with the companies outside the campus, such as Recruit, Denso-IT where we went to Tokyo and have presentations in these companies. Besides, our lab have a lot of projects being done with Sharp, Panasonic and so forth. All these activities are very important and significant since we are social informatics guy, who are going to build the connection between the technology and social issues. Our goals are always discovering new problems and exploring new methods to best solve it.
It is the second year of my life in Japan and I enjoyed a lot already. Just as what I quoted in the very beginning that “Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” Life contains far more opportunities and possibilities than what you expected. So do not hesitate, go for it!
Linsi XIA (Social Information Network Division)
from People’s Republic of China
I am Chinese and currently pursuing my Master degree at Ishida&Matsubara Laboratory, Department of Social Informatics, Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University. My main focus is on the Participatory Design and HCI(Human Computer Interaction).
Participatory Design is a new approach to design, actively involving all stakeholders in the design process in order to ensure that the product design meets stakeholders’ needs and usability.
Related Project: Wikipedia Translation Project (Collaborative Research with WikiMedia Foundation, NICT)
Outline: This project concentrates on providing a multilingual support tool for Wiki-to-Wiki translations, which aims to solve the problem of uneven distribution of articles between different language Wikipedias. To evaluate the usability of the tool and continue improving it, we are going to carry out a series of experiments. My responsibility is to design these experiments with a participatory design approach and ensure the tool meets users’ needs.
Paper: Supporting Multilingual Discussion of Wikipedia Translation with the Language Grid Toolbox. IEICE, NLC2009-44, pp.67-72 (Collaboration paper)
HCI: My interest lies in how advanced technology tools affect human computer experience. Furthermore, I would like to study and propose new human computer interaction interface. Related Project: Difficulties of non-native speakers contributing to a multiparty audio conference (Collaborative Research with NTT)
Outline: We are trying to give a scientific explanation on why non-native speakers have a lower frequency of utterance in audio meeting via tools such as Skype, than face to face meeting through a controled experiment.
Other Projects: G30 Community Site
G30 Community Site is part of the Global 30 project running at the Graduate School of Informatics as of April, 2010. G30 Community Site provides customized tools, like the multilingual tool that supports foreign and Japanese students during their study at the Graduate School of Informatics, previously developed in another project. For the G30Coomunity Site project, I am one of the administrators, managing contents, PR issues and improvement of technical aspects. This project has been reported by NHK, KBS Kyoto, and many other newspapers.
My research interests are mainly in services computing, and specifically in the quality of service (QoS) for services computing. The directive question of my research is how to shift the current paradigm of QoS to be more user-centered. It means that users should be more involved in deciding which service(s) is the best for them, based on not only provider’s QoS. I address this question by experimenting the hybrid architecture of language services as well as finding an appropriate formulization to solve the problem of user-centered QoS. While the experimental hybrid architecture is essential for practical approach in services computing, the modified formulization is required in theoretical implementation. The combination of practical and theoretical approach is sometimes the easiest way to start a research.
I enjoy my research activities in laboratory and other places when I was presenting my papers. One of the conferences I attended is in Valetta, Malta. The name is International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation as known as LREC. The intricate Mediterranean coastline helped me learn the research enthusiasm from other researches around the world. They are coming from different field of studies, but always eager to exchange research ideas in every second of the conference, even during coffee breaks and receptions. Here I found that research does not belong to me, but it is everyone’s business and realized in collaboration.