「斎同熟議」を極める
~沖縄で第一期履修生の合同合宿実施Extending the meaning of “interdisciplinary”:
Study camp for inaugural students held in Okinawa

December 18-21, 2013 Okinawa (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, behind-the-scenes of Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, etc.)

Knowing others, knowing yourself, and knowing infinite possibilities

Over four days from December 18 to 21, 2013, HWIP students participated in a study camp in Okinawa. The aims of this camp were to move closer to the ideal of seidō jukugi (intensive interdisciplinary studies) and to gain exposure to an outstanding academic community beyond the campus.
Having just completed their Pre-Qualifying Examinations, students were in exactly the right frame of mind for a camp, and also eager to escape Osaka’s chilly weather in favor of average temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius in Okinawa. Immediately on arrival, all 24 students got together to introduce their research projects to each other. Each student had the opportunity to be both presenter and audience, and the result was a lively discussion around the various projects introduced.

This momentum was maintained in the ensuing workshops on new interdisciplinary research themes. Forming their own groups, students came up with unique angles and approaches through which to tackle their respective themes. Based on an understanding of the distinctive features of each other’s research, group members put their heads together to come up with highly creative research plans and ideas. The groups were reshuffled periodically, giving students a total of three opportunities to experience intensive brainstorming and development of interdisciplinary research themes from the ground up, with different counterparts each time. Finally, group memberships were fixed through consensus, resulting in the creation of four highly distinctive teams.

This marked the beginning of an ongoing process of seidō jukugi or intensive interdisciplinary studies, the core principle of the Humanware Innovation Program. On both the first and second days of the camp the groups all worked long into the night to formulate and perfect their research plans.

A glimpse into the professional’s world

On the second day, students took a break from their interdisciplinary projects to undertake a behind-the-scenes tour of Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. They learned about how new fish are brought to the aquarium, how their breeding environments are regulated, how health problems are dealt with, and what kinds of observation and research goes on at the aquarium. By special arrangement, the tour was led by Fish Team Leader, Dr. Nonaka, and the manager of the No.1 Research Division, Dr. Sato. Experiences such as surface observation of feeding in the main tank exposed students to another side of aquarium operations and gave them new insight into professional research work behind the scenes. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium turned out to be filled with the wonders of nature and the seas of Okinawa, and the desire to communicate those wonders to the world.

Learning from OIST

The third day of the camp included a visit to Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST). Students toured the highly internationalized education and research environment and state-of-the-art facilities, as well as spending some time at the research lab of Professor Kenji Doya of the Neural Computation Unit. OIST is unlike any other campus in Japan. Students were particularly impressed with the support provided to OIST’s small student population by the diverse faculty and cutting-edge research environment.
After the lab visit, students joined with their OIST counterparts to enjoy special lectures by Professor Doya and Professor Tetsuya Yomo from HWIP. We anticipate that the connections made with OIST students during this visit will grow into concrete research collaborations in the future.

Advancing interdisciplinary research

On the last day of the camp, the four groups presented their research plans. The titles were: “Organism Simulation Robot for Controlling Animal Herds”, “Optical Bio GATE”, “Lady Who Won’t Shut Up”, and “Development of an Undersea Robot Modeled on a Ray”. All group members were involved in the presentations, which were followed by extensive and lively discussion that included many penetrating questions and frank comments. This session highlighted the camp’s success in stimulating and enhancing students’ awareness of the value of interdisciplinary research. We look forward to watching how these projects develop into the future.

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「斎同熟議」を極める
~沖縄で第一期履修生の合同合宿実施Extending the meaning of “interdisciplinary”:
Study camp for inaugural students held in Okinawa

2013.12.18〜21 沖縄 (沖縄科学技術大学院大学、沖縄美ら海水族館バックヤード、他)

互いを知り、己を知り、そして無限の可能性を知る

act_p20140130_22013年12月18日から21日までの4日間、本格的な「斎同熟議」の実施と、外部の卓越した「学舎」環境を知り学ぶことを目的とした合宿が沖縄で行われました。 履修生はちょうどPre-QEを済ませたところで、合宿への気合いは十分。気温5度の大阪から気温23度の沖縄へ一気に飛び抜けました。 到着後、休む間もなく早速、自己研究紹介。参加24名全員が互いに発表者となり聴衆となり、研究説明と熱のこもった議論を繰り広げました。 その熱もさめやらぬまま、新たな融合研究テーマの検討へと突入。各自が自由にグループを組み、そのメンバーならではの斬新な切り口とアプローチでテーマを模索しました。互いの研究特性を理解したうえで、創造力あふれる研究プランとアイデアを生み出そうと、皆が必死に知恵を絞りました。メンバーは一定時間ごとにシャッフルされ、新メンバーで再び融合研究テーマの考案をゼロから試みるということを3度繰り返し、密度の濃いブレインストーミングとなりました。act_p20140130_3最終的には、合議による本当のグループ分けを実行し、個性あふれる4つのグループが出来上がりました。 その後は、ただひたすら「斎同熟議」の繰り返し。各グループに分かれて、融合研究テーマのプラン作りとそれを熟成させる話し合いが、初日も二日目も空が白むまで延々と続けられました。

プロフェッショナルの技

act_p20140130_4融合研究の議論の合間を縫って、二日目には沖縄美ら海水族館のバックヤードを見学。どんなふうに魚が新たに水族館に運び込まれ、どんなふうに飼育環境が調節され、どんなふうに弱った魚に処置が施され、どんなふうに生態の観察や研究が行われているのか。魚類チームのリーダー野中博士と研究第一課課長の佐藤博士に特別にご対応をいただきました。大水槽への給餌の水上観覧などを通じ、普段目にする水族館の表の顔とはひと味違った、プロフェッショナルな裏の顔を肌で感じることができ、とても貴重な体験になりました。美ら海水族館には、自然の素晴らしさ、沖縄の海の素晴らしさと、それを多くの人に素直に伝えたいという意識が満ちあふれていました。

OISTに学ぶ

act_p20140130_6三日目には、沖縄科学技術大学院大学(OIST)を訪問。国際化された教育研究環境や最先端施設はもちろん、神経計算ユニットの銅谷賢治先生の研究室も見学させていただきました。OISTに広がる風景はまるで外国。少人数の学生を多彩な教員と先進の研究環境でサポートする体制に感銘を受けました。その後、OISTの学生と共に銅谷賢治教授と本プログラムの担当教員四方哲也教授の特別講演を受講。今回の訪問により、OIST学生と交流が深まり、共同研究の足がかりとなることが期待されます。

融合研究に向けて

act_p20140130_7最終日には、それぞれのグループが合宿中に考案した融合研究プランを発表。「動物の群れをコントロールする生物模倣ロボット」「Optical Bio GATE」「黙ってくれへんおばさん」「エイの模倣による水中ロボットの開発」の4つのタイトルが挙げられました。発表ではグループのメンバー全員がプレゼンテーターとなり、鋭い質問やストレートなコメントと応答など、伸びやかで活発な議論が繰り広げられました。この合宿によって刺激され高められた融合研究への意識が、成果として如実に表れた時間でした。今後のさらなる発展が楽しみです。