Bringing a flexible perspective to the creation of new information systems

Realizing easy-to-use,
safe information security from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Fujiwara, Toru

Graduate School of Information Science and Technology
Information Security Engineering Lab,

Fujiwara, Toru

Professor Fujiwara’s research on the protection and accessibility of information demonstrates new possibilities that can arise from an interdisciplinary approach to security system design.

Researching methods that ensure information is delivered securely and correctly

I am researching encryption and other means to ensure that the contents of the information that we exchange over the internet is not intercepted and eavesdropped upon by others. Another theme of my research is related to error correction in information transmission. While cellular phone calls are disrupted by static, e-mails can be accurately received, despite the fact that the static we hear when make calls is still there. While at times an e-mail will fail to be sent, that failure can be detected. This is because error correction measures are in place.

My research concerns the development of such measures as well as the evaluation of whether these measures exhibit their intended capabilities. My research leans towards theoretical topics and is not something that can be quickly implemented, but over time I expect it will develop into something more practical.

fujiwara2

Working towards secure, easy-to-use systems

Research at the theoretical level does not tend to be interdisciplinary, but ultimately it must be for something that is easily used by ordinary people. Especially in the field of security, it could be said that while no one wants to have their data exposed to a virus, many people find security measures, such as changing passwords frequently, a cumbersome task. In real-world terms, keeping valuables in a family safe in your house is not as secure as using the safe in a bank. However, just a moderate level of security is sufficient in today’s society. The virtual world can be thought of in the same way. It seems to me that we can envisage a system with a moderate level of safety that is moderately easy to use. We must also use the knowledge of cognitive science to consider how to implement security measures that people find accessible. However, it is difficult to determine how to evaluate the level of safety at which users can feel at ease. This is something that I would like to seriously consider going forward.

 

 Integrating the knowledge of life sciences

Apart from cognitive science, I think there is great potential in interdisciplinary research involving life sciences. Life adapted to its environment through a process where some organisms survived while others perished. When this concept is applied to information science, one can see it reflected in any modern security system. Not even one computer connected to a network can be compromised. I would like to build a system where even if one computer was compromised, its effect on the network as a whole would be minimal. It is likely that life sciences can provide insight into the creation of such a system. I think that in this way, information sciences and life sciences can be integrated towards developing something new. However, such a system is not for the individual computers you use every day; it is far larger in scale and scope.

 

Program participants ought to engage in research abroad

fujiwara3I am in charge of the international aspects of this program. Currently, we are preparing to offer short-term, one-week visits to research institutions abroad, as well as international internships at research institutions that last for 6 weeks to 3 months. The short-term visits are a chance to find a research topic to pursue, and they can serve as preparation for the longer internship programs.

In the research institutions that students visit in this program, researchers from various cultural backgrounds gather together to work as a matter of course. Some have also had careers outside academic research, and so a range of different age groups are represented. I would like all participants to experience the diverse research environments these international internships offer. In doing so, you can join your fellow researchers in a relaxed environment with a flexible approach towards enjoying the opportunities this program can provide for you.