Frontier of
Embodiment Informatics:
ICT and Robotics

Top Global University Project: Waseda Goes Global - A Plan to Build a
Worldwide Academic Network that is Open, Dynamic and Diverse

Tsukasa NOZAWA

Portrait Visiting period December 2017 to March 2018
Visiting university Drexel University
Visiting country and region Philadelphia, United States of America

Content of the study program

In this program, I pursued research relating to the estimation of physical characteristics based on images, under Prof. Hisashi Nishino (currently of Kyoto University), at Drexel University in Philadelphia, United States, for approximately three months.

Study results

In this program, I undertook research in the field of computer vision, the purpose of which is to reproduce in machine, perception that is similar to the human eye. Humans are able to predict a certain degree of information simply by looking at a given scene with their eyes (What is shown? What are its material properties? How hard is it? What kind of lighting environment is it? What shape is it in three dimensions? etc.), but it is difficult for machines to comprehend the same things. As a result, research has been very active in recent years. In the research group that helped me in this program, research into the estimation of material properties and lighting environment was particularly active, so I was able to pursue research in this area. There were many cases in the Japanese laboratory I belong to at Waseda, of research being advanced by the individual. Within our research group, which has already presented multiple papers in top conferences, however, the research is undertaken at a very rapid pace over a short period of time, jointly as a team, so this was a very valuable experience for me. We did not get as far as contributing a paper on this occasion, but I want to make use of this experience going forward, and submit papers to the top conferences in the future.

My experience abroad

I used the same program last year, and participated in the same research group, so I had very little concern (I was only worried about the cold). In particular, thanks to the generous support of the professor and research members of the affiliated laboratory, I was able to spend my time quite comfortably. Furthermore, I feel I was able to gain a great deal of motivation in my life in America, where students from Japan and from a diverse range of other nations can learn from one another. The one thing that I felt uneasy about was my language ability, but I think that because of my experience last year, I was able to get by comfortably. Although I am still unable to hold my head high with confidence, and claim "I can speak English fluently," I think this has helped me with my self-confidence going forward. Although no relation at all to this program, I am very glad that I was able to experience the best of America, such as the swell of emotion, unparalleled in Japan, of seeing the local team (NFL Philadelphia Eagles) advance in the Super Bowl, America's largest sporting event, and the experience of an authentic Christmas party. (The place where I stayed is the region that boasts of the worst public order in the whole country, so I also enjoyed a thrilling experience in that sense.)

Influence on my future career

After my experience of the same program last year, I determined to pursue academic advancement rather than an occupation, so I am working hard on my studies right now. That feeling was enhanced by this latest experience, so my desire to work even harder going forward has only strengthened. As such, I feel that I have been influenced in a great way by this program, for the purpose of an academic life on a doctoral course, for my remaining three years. I hope to progress further in the near future, thanks to this experience.

Other comments

Following on from last year, I am very grateful for the support I received from the SGU program. I expressed the same gratitude last year, but it is thanks to this support that I was able to work on my studies really comfortably. This time studying abroad has most definitely had a significant effect on my future life choices, and I cannot thank Ms. Ikeda, and everyone else at SGU enough. I hope that this kind of support and program will endure into the future, so that my juniors can continue to accumulate these same experiences.