Site: IBM
Tokyo Research Laboratory (TRL)
1623-14 Shimotsuruma
Yamato, Kanagawa, 242-8502 Japan

Date Visited: 24 March 1998

WTEC Attendess: T. Ager (report author), B. Croft, L. Goldberg, R.D.Shelton



Tokyo Research Laboratory is one of eight IBM research labs (New York,California, Texas, Japan, China, India, Israel, and Switzerland). It wasestablished in 1982, and currently has 165 employees. The lab's focus includesmobile computing, graphics, object-oriented technologies, user interface,computer science theory, compilers, storage, and LCDs. The lab also doesresearch on digital libraries, collaborative computing, and electroniccommerce.

The lab collaborates closely in these areas with IBM Laboratories in theother sites, product development, manufacturing and marketing groups, and itswork has resulted in the adoption of many TRL ideas and technologies in IBMproducts and customer solutions. TRL also conducts joint work withuniversities, other research institutes, and customers through joint studies,workshops and visiting scientist programs. Lab research activities are madepublic through presentations to academic societies and publications intechnical journals.


Dr. Hong Jung-Kook gave an overview of the lab's mission and functions inIBM's worldwide research division. He described the following TRL technologiesthat are closely related to organizing and managing digital information. Wherefurther information is available from the TRL Web site, URLs have beenprovided. A high performance "just in time" Java compiler gives 1.3-25 timesincrease in speed over interpreted Java, and for some programs up to a 50xincrease in execution speed.

A System for Creating Mobile Java Agents Called "Aglets"

An aglet is a Java object that can move from one host on the Internet toanother. That is, an aglet that executes on one host can suddenly haltexecution, dispatch to a remote host, and resume execution there. When theaglet moves, it takes along its program code as well as its state (data). Abuilt-in security mechanism makes it safe for a computer to host untrustedaglets.

A Speaking Web Page

A speaking Web page, designed to support Internet access for the blind, usestext to voice and voice synthesis technologies.

A Personal Translator

The Japanese translation capabilities of Web homepages are achieved astop-level technology in the Japanese marketplace. IBM has capability of Webhomepage translation in the different language pairs, such as G-J, G-K, G-C,E-F, E-S.

Video Mosaics

Video mosaics (creating a panoramic view from individual video frames basedon object segmentation) and video indexing were shown.


Information Outlining

Mr. Masayuki Morohashi presented "information outlining." This is aninformation retrieval technique that combines metadata extractors withvisualization tools. For a corpus, classifying functions extract values forpredefined categories such as dates, city names, personal names, brand names,countries, etc. Viewers are developed that can map attributes, distributionsand frequencies to visualizations such as maps (for city or country names),time lines (for dates), and business charts for distributions. Because contentis both keyword-indexed and classified, a keyword search result can beorganized in several complementary visualizable modes, and these modes caninteractively manipulated. Time lines can be compressed or expanded, forexample, having the effect of refining a search with respect to date ofpublication or dates mentioned in the articles. Or, it is possible to representthe times and/or places associated with the mention of a public figure, such asPresident Clinton. The technology has been demonstrated, and has beenincorporated in an IR system IBM is delivering to a major newspaper in Japan.Further information about information outlining is on the Web. The technique isdiscussed in several papers (Morohashi and Takeda 1997, Morohashi and Uramota1996, Morohashi et al. 1995).

Reliable Multicast Transport Protocol (RMTP)

Mr. Kunihiko Tejima discussed and demonstrated RMTP. RMTP enables contentproviders to reliably deliver content to 5 to 10 thousand recipients at once.It requires RMTP software on client (recipient) systems. The RMTP protocol runson existing Internet enabled for multicast. RMTP clients track packet arrival,and after the original dispatch is completed, contact the server to requestmissing packets. In this way, multicast is made more reliable, so thatRMTP-based multicast can achieve assured synchronization of data, scheduleddelivery of information, while also saving server and network costs. From theserver standpoint, a 2 MB payload can be delivered to 5,000 clients in threeminutes. Using consecutive FTP would take 3 hours. Conventional IP multicastdoes not provide the client-side capabilities of RMTP, which add the assureddelivery characteristics.

RMTP is being proposed as an Internet standard by the TRL.

Security and Electronic Commerce

Dr. Hiroshi Maruyama explained the many projects at TRL relating to theprotection of information in digital library and electronic commerceapplications. Security technologies exist at all levels of modern layeredsystems, from chip-level encryption, storage device protection, throughmiddleware security methods such as secure servers, firewalls, key management,and secure desktop applications or clients. TRL is actively involved withtechnologies at all levels including the following:


In addition to the specific technologies for organizing and managing digitalinformation, TRL has been working with Japan's National Museum of Ethnologysince 1986 on a digital museum project. Currently the project includesadditional collaboration with the British Museum and Cornell University. Theproject focus is online, interactive material development for museum educationat the K-12 level. It includes capabilities for search, navigation, browsingand annotation and personal exhibit construction. The participating museumsprovide curatorial, collections, and cataloging expertise. Cornell addsevaluation and curriculum development skills, and TRL provides technologies forthe project. In its overall structure, the project is very much like manycomputer-based education projects in the United States. Funding is mainlyderived from IBM. Architecture and implementation of the Global Digital Museumare discussed in greater detail in Chapter 4. A current report on the GlobalDigital Museum appeared in June 1998 (Takahashi et al. 1998).


The team was impressed by the breadth and depth of research being done atTRL. The IBM Tokyo Laboratory is both a solution provider and a creator of newtechnologies. It works directly with customers, and its contributions to IBMare complemented by other research laboratories and product development labsworldwide. Thus only a partial picture of IBM's total approach to digitallibraries was represented in the TRL visit. Nevertheless, it was apparent thatthere are many unresolved issues of policy, standards, and accepted practices,and that the TRL is investigating many different approaches to informationorganization and content management.

The Global Digital Museum addresses architecture and systems for a solutionto worldwide access to museum information for K-12 instructional purposes. Inother areas affecting digital libraries, particularly protocols and security,the TRL has an international focus.


Morohashi, M. and K. Takeda. 1997. Information outliningand site outlining. Intl. Symp. on Research, Development, and Practice inDigital Libraries: 99-105.

Morohashi, M. and N. Uramoto. 1996. Information outliningfor government-issued data. International Symposium on MultimediaSystems.

Morohashi, M., K. Takeda, H. Nomiyama, and H. Maruyama.1995. Information outlining-Filling the gap between visualization andnavigation in digital libraries. Intl. Symp. on Digital Libraries:151-158.

Takahashi, J., T. Kushida, J-K. Hong, S. Sugita, Y.Kurita, J. Reeve, R. Loverance, G. Gay and R. Rieger. 1998. Multimediainformation access on the Internet: An approach in global digital museum. ACM Digital Libraries '98. Pittsburgh, PA.

Published: February 1999; WTECHyper-Librarian