CIIR Co-Directors Bruce Croft and James Allan visit Hokkaido University to Launch Research Partnership

Japan's Hokkaido University (HU) and the UMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) have embarked on a new initiative, part of the Global Institution for Collaborative Research and Education (GI-CoRE), to foster collaborative research and education activities in the areas of big data and cybersecurity. The initiative builds on the longstanding relationship between the two institutions that goes back to the founding of Hokkaido University in 1876 by William Smith Clark, the third president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (later to become UMass Amherst).

Recognizing the economic and societal impact of the digital revolution, Hokkaido University created GI-CoRE as a vehicle to derive collaborations with a network of world-leading universities. GI-CoRE is funded by the Government of Japan and directed by the President of HU; it consists of six focal areas, called Global Stations, including Big Data and Cybersecurity (GSB) which was established in April 2016.

GSB's goals are to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations in the areas of big data and cybersecurity, to collaboratively develop curriculum and educational programs in these areas, and to facilitate joint academia-industry-government initiatives. Funding will support short- and long-term visits by computer science faculty and the hiring of graduate students and postdocs at HU to support these collaborations.

"We have a valued relationship with HU and look forward to expanding our partnerships with its world-class faculty," said Bruce Croft, distinguished professor, CICS dean, and CIIR director. "UMass Amherst will bring its unique expertise and leadership in cybersecurity and data science to engage with HU on problems of common, global interest."

A delegation from UMass Amherst - Bruce Croft, Professor James Allan (chair of the faculty and CIIR co-director), and Professor Shlomo Zilberstein (associate dean for research and engagement) - visited HU in May and participated in several events to mark the opening of GSB. Prof. Zilberstein delivered an invited talk during the opening ceremony entitled "Building Robust AI Systems" and Professor Allan spoke at the "Japan-US Academic Cooperation in Big Data and Cybersecurity" roundtable.

Professors John Staudenmayer and Erin Conlon of UMass Amherst's Department of Mathematics and Statistics are also engaged in the GI-CoRE GSB partnership.

Bruce Croft and James Allan are pictured above (far right) during their visit to Hokkaido University.