Tokyo Institute of Technology: Tokyo Tech Academy for Convergence of Materials and Informatics doctoral students share research findings in AY2022

Twenty-five doctoral students from the Tokyo Tech Academy for Convergence of Materials and Informatics (TAC-MI) presented their latest research findings at the Multi-Purpose Digital Hall on Ookayama Campus on June 30, 2022. Approximately 140 TAC-MI program staff members, students, and industrial collaborators tuned in to the presentations. This event was held in hybrid format for both in-person and online participants.

TAC-MI, established in January 2019 under the auspices of the Doctoral Program for World-leading Innovative & Smart Education (WISE) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, aims to cultivate multi-talented individuals who can play leading roles in the creation of new industries and academic fields involving materials science, information science, and social services. The program also places strong emphasis on working closely with industry.

In the first half of the event, 23 1st-year doctoral students gave presentations on the progress of their research and future prospects based on the fusion of materials and information. TAC-MI Director Takeo Yamaguchi kicked things off with some opening words. After the opening remarks, the presentations started under the guidance of 2nd-year doctoral students who chaired the session. The six-minute presentations, followed by four-minute Q&A sessions, provided all students the chance to appeal to the audience regarding the findings of their research thus far. In particular, students were able to rethink how they can convey their research to people from different fields. Following each talk, the students received challenging but positive questions from the audience, making the most of this opportunity to present their research findings to industry players.

Part 2: Presentation of Self-Designed Thesis progress by 2nd-year doctoral student
In the second part of the event, chaired by TAC-MI’s Associate Professor Yu-ichiro Matsushita, two 2nd-year doctoral students gave presentations on the progress of their TAC-MI Self-Designed Theses.

For the Self-Designed Thesis, students choose a topic different from that of their dissertation and conduct research on their own initiative. They present these findings upon completion of their doctoral degree program, and faculty members at TAC-MI review the presentations. Through this process, students acquire the ability to conduct unique research independently based on new ideas supported by knowledge of materials science and information science, transcending their individual specializations. TAC-MI students present their research progress in English at either the event in June or the International Forum in December during the second year of their doctoral program.

The rest of TAC-MI’s 2nd-year doctoral students will give presentations at the International Forum, which will be held in December 2022.

Five students receive TAC-MI Special Award for Excellence
At the end of Part 1 and Part 2, students who have attained remarkable achievements in their educational and research activities received the TAC-MI Special Award for Excellence. This award, presented once a year to a carefully selected group of students, comes with additional financial support as a supplementary prize. As a result of rigorous screening, five students were selected for the award in academic year 2022.

TAC-MI Special Award for Excellence recipients
Hao Yingquan, 3rd-year doctoral student
Yohei Cho, 2nd-year doctoral student
Hirogi Yokochi, 2nd-year doctoral student
Takumi Yamamoto, 1st-year doctoral student
Yuna Tatsumi, 2nd-year master’s student

TAC-MI students’ interviews with industrial mentors
In the third part of the event, TAC-MI doctoral students conducted interviews with and received advice from their industrial mentors. TAC-MI students have the advantage of evaluating their strengths and weaknesses in face-to-face meetings with researchers, developers, technical experts, product planners, and marketing professionals from various industries. One industrial mentor is assigned to each student. Throughout the duration of this program, each student has an industrial mentor who continuously guides the student from enrollment to program completion. This time, fifty-five doctoral students conducted interviews with their industrial mentors. Since all the interviews in the past two years were held online, most students met face to face with their mentors for the first time.

After the event, TAC-MI program staff members and industrial collaborators who listened to the presentations provided opinions and comments to the presenters. This feedback included the following.

I have been participating since the first year, and I feel that materials informatics is gradually spreading to students as a daily tool. All the presentations were high-quality research and I was very inspired.
The students have successfully incorporated computer science into their research, and I realized that the TAC-MI program is operating well under the guidance of the faculty members.
I was surprised to see all these wonderful results despite the fact that presentations were held online last year and the year before that.
I felt that the student presentations were of high quality. I am looking forward to witnessing the growth of the students acting as mentors.
I was impressed by the fact that the students undertake research outside their field of study, and by the wide range of fields that were presented. Listening to presentations outside one’s specialization can also provide students with great hints regarding their own path.
At the end of the event, an exchange meeting was held to deepen communication between TAC-MI students, industrial collaborators, and faculty and staff. The opportunity to receive advice from industrial collaborators through interviews, exchange meetings, and feedback sheets after presentations was a valuable experience for the participating students.

Through exchange events with corporate partners, TAC-MI continues to cultivate multi-talented individuals required by industry who apply a broad, global perspective to understanding new social services and innovating new ideas.

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