vol. 107 | iTHES

Vol. 107, December 21st, 2015


  • Announcement
  • Upcoming Events

Person of the week



From the Office

The office of iTHES assistant, Ms.Chikako Oota is situated at the second floor of the main research building, room # 246. The extension number is 3261. She will be at the office from 10 a.m. to 16 p.m.


"End-of-year party message" to all ithes members from Franco Nori (ithes-cond team) with a comment 'Laughing is good for creativity'.
These funny GIFs contain interdisciplinary approach, industry vs. academia, practical application, causality and correlation, and even the famous Kurosawa's movie.
Enjoy, laugh, and have happy holidays !

Upcoming Events

14th iTHES Colloquium

January 7th (Thu.) 15:00-
"Sparse modeling and data-driven science"
Prof. Masato Okada (University of Tokyo)
Place: Okochi Hall (C32)
I introduce a project, called “the Initiative for High-dimensional Data-Driven Science through Deepening of Sparse Modeling ”. The aim of this project is to establish a novel framework to make the tight connection of information science to the original purpose of data analysis derived from various scientific disciplines, namely, data-driven science. We consider sparse modeling as a key technology of the data-driven science. In this talk, I mention basic concept of the sparse modeling, and concretely explain that sparse modeling promotes extraction of latent structure in electrophysiological data. Through the project, we have become convinced that the three levels pointed out by David Marr give a novel insight into data-driven science, and propose three levels of data-driven science [1].

[1] Igarashi, Nagata, Kuwatani, Omori, Nakanishi-Ohno and Okada, “Three Levels of Data-Driven Science”, submitted to Proc. of HD3-2015 , 2015.


International year of light and al-Haytham --T. Tada

Earlier this month, I wrote about the centennial of Einstein’s General Relativity. In that short note, I mentioned that the set of the equations known as Maxwell’s equations was actually formulated by Heaviside. Incidentally, James Clerk Maxwell's papers regarding electromagnetism "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" was published in 1865. In a sense, this year also has been the 150th anniversary of Maxwell’s equations for the electromagnetic field. You may think the electromagnetic field was overshadowed by the gravitational field in this celebration. But don’t you worry, EM field has got their share of celebration this year.
This year was in fact designated as the international year of light, by no other than the United Nations. And what was the occasion? Millennial of the publication of “Book of Optics” by authored Ibn al-Haytham. He was an Islamic scientist during the time of Abbasid Caliphate. His full name with all the patronymics is lengthy;
Abu Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham,
so he came to be known as Alhazen, or Alhacen in the Europe. The above-mentioned book was translated into Latin around 12th century and influenced European scientists greatly.
His contribution to the science does not confined in the field of optics. His attitude in studying nature set the standard that can be considered the foundation of modern science. Here is a quote from his writing:
"The duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and,.. attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency."
He also recognized that a hypothesis must be tested by experiments or evidence. Wikipedia entry for him claimed that
“Ibn al-Haytham is regarded to be the first theoretical physicist."