William Mong Distinguished Lecture

Professor H Kimura
University of Tokyo

Information Technology as an Ultimate Tool for Control

Information technology is a combination of automation and communication, both of which were developed and made progress in the latter half of the 19th century. Its role was to fill the gap between availability of numerous technological possibilities opened up by the industrial revolution that had taken place a century ago and the immature social infrastructure that blocked their realization. Communication and automation technologies had grown separately until digital computers emerged after the Second World War. Computers combined the two technologies, which drove both of them to new stages of development continuously.

In this lecture, Professor Kimura will briefly review the close interplay between automation and communication in the sphere of the so-called information technology and will analyze, in some details, mutual influences in the context of manufacturing, business and service sectors using Japanese situations as prototypes. All the arguments tried to manifest the belief that we are just in front of the door to an essentially new society succeeding the agricultural and industrial societies, which prevailed from late 1960's to early 1980's, have turned out to be groundless and even misleading. Professor Kimura is of the view that our technology is just following the old tendency of cultivating the inward technology which began in the latter half of the 19th century, in order to follow up the far more advanced outward technology. The "new society" is nothing but a completion of the industrial society with the old backbone where the market mechanism penetrates into every aspect of human life. Professor Kimura will also emphasize that automation in which control plays a major role determines the fundamental trend of IT.

Biography of Professor H Kimura

Professor Hidenori Kimura graduated from the Department of Mathematical Engineering, The University of Tokyo, in 1965. He obtained his doctor's degree in engineering from The University of Tokyo in 1970 and the title of his thesis was "The Study of Differential Games". He joined the Faculty of Engineering Science of the Osaka University in 1970 where he engaged in the research and education of control theory and its applications, signal processing, and modeling theory. He stayed in the Warwick University and the Imperial College of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom from 1974 to 1975 for 15 months with the support of the British Council. In 1995, he was invited to be a Guest Professor of the Delft University of Science and Technology in the Netherlands; and in 1996, he was appointed a Springer Professor at the University of California Berkley. He joined the Faculty of Engineering of The University of Tokyo in 1996 and he is currently a Professor of Control Engineering of the University. He is also a leader of a Research Team on Biological Control Systems of RIKEN, the largest research institute for basic scientific study in Japan.

Professor Kimura has published over 200 publications including nine books. His research contributions are recognized through a number of awards. These include, to name a few, the Automatica Paper Prize Awards from the International Federation of Automatic Control (1984 and 1990), the George Axelby Award (1984) and the Distinguished Membership Award (1996) from the IEEE Control Systems Society. He has also received SICE (The Society of Instrument and Control Engineers) Paper Awards four times. Since 1990, he has been a Fellow of IEEE. He served as the General Chair of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in 1996 and served on many committees of major conferences. He is now the President of the SICE.

Professor Kimura is a Managing Editor of Asian Journal of Control, an Editor of International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control, and an Associate Editor of International Journal of Control. He has also served on the editorial boards of Systems and Control Letters, Automatica, Linear Algebra and its Applications, and Journal of Mathematical Systems, Estimation, and Control.