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Stanford Japan Center for research opens with symposium

STANFORD -- A symposium on new trends in engineering and corporate management publicly inaugurated the research program of the Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto, Japan, on Oct. 20.

Four Stanford deans and five other faculy members participated in the symposium, which drew 200 Japanese corporate executives, educators and friends of Stanford to the center. Ken- ichi Imai, who became the center's first director of research on Sept. 1, organized the program, titled "A New Techno-Economic Paradigm for the 21st Century: The Age of New Engineering."

The symposium examined new trends in both the engineering and corporate arenas that are redefining the manner in which economics and technology interact. Speakers from Stanford and Japan explored ways in which economics and engineering interactions are changing, including processes in which economic goods, services and software are disaggregated at the micro level and reconfigured into new systems in a range of technical fields and industrial sectors. The result is a new, multidisciplinary approach to engineering, as well as industrial organization and manufacturing.

A final session looked at the contribution of biotechnology to human health and the environment.

Stanford participants, besides Imai, included Robert Byer, dean of research; James Gibbons, dean of the School of Engineering; Michael Spence, dean of the Graduate School of Business; Ewart Thomas, dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences; economics Prof. Masahiko Aoki; engineering Prof. James Harris, director of the Solid-States Electronics Laboratory; linguistics Prof. Stanley Peters, former director of Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information; law Prof. Thomas Heller, deputy director of the Institute for International Studies; and Prof. David Botstein, chair of the department of genetics.

Other panelists included Makoto Kikuchi of Sony Corp.; Prof. Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, provost of Tokyo University; Morio Ikehara, professor emeritus of Osaka University; and Mitsuhiro Yanagida, professor of biophysics and molecular biology at Kyoto University.

Long term, the research program at the Stanford Japan Center is intended to broaden the scope of collaborative research between Stanford and Japan in scientific and technical fields, as well as the social sciences and humanities. The goal is to encourage and facilitate new research opportunities of mutual benefit to Stanford faculty members and their Japanese counterparts, and to provide a base of operation to strengthen the university's position within the Japanese research community.



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