Akiko Yoshida

Field

Researcher

Place of employment

Sharp Corporation

Hometown: Saga Prefecture , Background: After graduating from the University of Aizu, entered a graduate school in the U.S.A., and obtained a master's degree and a doctoral degree in Germany. Currently works for Sharp Corporation , Attractive points of the Aizu region: The beauty of nature, the old townscape, and sake in Aizu

Faculty's Message - Computer Systems

The profession of conducting research covers a very broad range. If it is limited to computer science and engineering, relevant research fields range from fundamental and academic fields, which are closely related to mathematics and physics, to developmental fields, including applications, services, product development, etc. Courses in almost all research fields related to computer science and engineering are offered at the University of Aizu. What is most important as a researcher is to be amused by something, or to find something which attracts the researcher so much that he or she can devote him/herself in it wherever and whenever he/she can. Students are strongly encouraged to make use of opportunities to be informed of fields of research, including Student Cooperative Course Projects (SCCPs), graduation thesis presentation meetings, master's thesis presentation meetings, etc., according to the curriculum at the University of Aizu.

Researchers are employed at universities, research institutes affiliated with private companies, the national government, etc. Fields of research worked on at universities are more likely to be fundamental fields. A few restrictions are imposed on selection of research themes. Research activities are conducted by a group of a small number of people in most cases. On the other hand, in the fields related to application research and development, especially in private companies, research activities are advanced by team, and research themes are seldom selected on an individual basis. However, research funds are provided for researchers there in a more advantageous manner than for researchers at universities. In the process of advancement of research projects, opportunities to obtain a doctoral degree will be often given to researchers. If you aspire to become a researcher, you should go to a graduate school.

Regardless of whether to becomes researchers or not, university students should have curiosity, sense of inquiry, and persistence. But, such mentality is much expected for researchers. There are many successful cases where individuals changed their path to be researchers in the mid-career employment and/or individuals who were working as researchers started a company. Entering a university means just a start of your life. You are encouraged to get interested in and amused by studying in the fist place. Get yourself involved with anything to come up to you, and you will find something that you really want to do. You should think about whether you will be a researcher or not later.

English Language Courses

Reporting Statistical Research in English

This course covers:

  1. Basic statistical research design
  2. Interpretation of results
  3. Interpreting and reporting results in English
  4. Making software that supports experimental research

Students will produce software applications that illustrate basic principles of sample-based experimental research.
Students will also report on results using standard English expressions.

Pronunciation: Comparing English and Japanese Sound Systems

This course is a contrastive analysis of the phonology and phonetics (the sound systems) of Japanese and English. Each language's inventory of sound segments will be compared systematically, as well as the syllable structure and some phonological rules. Students will be taught to produce (pronounce) and perceive the differences between sounds in these two languages. In order to assist students in differentiating between English and Japanese sounds, both ultrasound and acoustic analysis software will be used in the classroom.

Research Themes (Fourth-year students)

Research Theme:
  • Whisper Function (Graduation Thesis)
  • Perceptual Evaluation of Tone Mapping (Master's Thesis)
  • Image Processing Using HDR Images Based on Psychology of Vision (Doctoral Thesis)

I discussed an audio transformation system for "whisper function" in a multi-user virtual environment in my graduation thesis, under the supervision of Professor William L. Martens, Professor Jens Herder, and Professor Michael Cohen. After I graduated the University of Aizu, I worked on my master's thesis under the supervision of Professor Myszkowski at Max-Planck Institute for Computer Science , who used to teach computer graphics at the University of Aizu, regarding perspective evaluation of Tone Mapping for displaying images in High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR images have luminance information in far broader range than that of ordinary cameras and displays. Human eyes have a considerably broad perceptible range of luminance (this is referred to as "Dynamic Range"). However, the function of Dynamic Range of ordinary displays is very limited and a variety of technical attempts are required for actual display of images in terms of software and hardware. In my doctoral thesis, I compiled achievements of research conducted under the supervision of Professor Myszkowski, regarding perceptual evaluation of HDR images on an HDR display and image processing based on psychophysics. The thesis included discussions on measuring the relationships between display devices and human perception, and how to apply the results to obtain preferable presentation on images.

Precious experience gained at a venture company

Starting from the beginning of my second year of the Undergraduate School, I worked for Eyes Japan as a student staff member. The company, which has marked the tenth anniversary by now, started as a corporation one month before I started working there. Though I was a student, the company gave me an opportunity as a project leader to take responsibility for the entire flow of a project including arrangement of hearings with a relevant client, preparation of proposals, producing systems, several reviews and delivery of the product to the client. That was one of the most impressive and valuable experiences from among various experiences I gained at the company, which included creation of systems for use at a museum and for pottery throwing based on interactive CG technology, modeling of Yakushi Sanzon statues in Shojoji Temple and Ouchi Juku, etc. At that time, there was no machinery power, useful modeling tools, nor sufficient infrastructure. It was a very good experience for me to be asked for an amount of invention by getting creative with what we had at that moment. Such experiences brought home to me the attitude, "I have to create or find out work on my own." The company was newly established at the time, and the first impression regarding the company was that there was something weird about any of the people there. All the employees of the company, including the president, of course, were "explosively" energetic, so quick to respond to what they were interested in and had firm determination to move into action according to that. Working experience in such an environment, though it was only a couple of years, is a great treasure for me.

Job-seeking Activities

Job-finding Activities and My Current Job

Sharp Corporation
シャープは、1912年の創業以来、国産第一号のラジオ、テレビ、太陽電池の量産化、世界初の電卓や液晶ディスプレイなど常に新しい分野の開拓、事業の創造に注力してきました。「エレクトロニクス技術を通じて"21世紀生活"を創造する"オンリーワン企業"」をめざし、新しいモノや新しいビジネスモデル、つまり「新しい価値」を創造することに全力で取組んでいます。
http://www.sharp.co.jp/

Just like other researchers, I did not conduct so-called job seeking activities upon graduation of the undergraduate school. I entered the graduate school of Oregon State University after graduating from the University of Aizu, transferred to Universitaet des Saarlandes, Germany to obtain a master's degree, and then, continued research at Max-Planck Institut fuer Infromatik (MPI) to obtain a doctoral degree.

At MPI, at the same time as I started writing my doctoral thesis, I started trying to find a position following completion of the doctoral research. When seeking positions as researchers, people have several alternatives, positions at universities, private companies or positions as governmental employees, etc. In my case, one of researchers whom I got acquainted with at a certain international conference introduced me to the company which I currently work for. Due to the time of submission of my doctoral thesis and a certain income I had obtained from MPI while living in Germany, I was employed in November as a mid-career employee. I continue conducting research on image processing, psychology of vision at the Display System Research Institute affiliated with Sharp Corporation.

In order to grow in your career, you should not underestimate human network. The human network would not emerge from nothing but from achievements that you accumulated. However, no matter how superior achievements you obtain, if they are not known to other people due to poor presentation, the achievements themselves are regarded as nothing. It is obvious that researchers should work hard on research. Moreover, how effectively their presentation can be made is another issue to be tackled with. I have recently become increasingly aware of the importance of this issue.

Other Cases

             

Responsibility for the wording of this article lies with Student Affairs Division

E-mail Address
sad-aas@u-aizu.ac.jp

Related Article