Site: Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST)
Ikoma, Nara

Date Visited: 26 March 1998

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



The Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) was established in 1991as one of two national universities in Japan devoted exclusively to researchand graduate education. The uniqueness of these institutes, in addition totheir exclusive focus on graduate education, lies in at least two areas. First,their policies and broad research directions are overseen by external boards ofdistinguished scientists from academe and industry. Thus, while their facultyenjoys somewhat less autonomy in selecting and pursuing their research topics,they are subject to fewer of the regulations imposed on other nationaluniversities by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture. Asecond distinction lies in the limited number of disciplines encompassed. NAISTcurrently has only three faculties: the Graduate School of Information Science(established in 1991), the Graduate School of Biological Sciences (1992), andthe Graduate School of Materials Sciences (1996). A fourth faculty underdiscussion is the Graduate School for Library Science. If realized, this willbe one of the first faculties to educate students as digital librarians.

The NAIST library opened two years ago as a true digital library intendedfor educational and research usage, the first such national library in Japan.The library provides five services:

  1. real-time service for users, in which its main goal is to digitize allnewly received materials within three days
  2. network access from a university room or anywhere
  3. media center, including CD-ROM, video, etc.
  4. full text retrieval, using OCR on documents-270,000 pages at the time ofthis visit
  5. alert function, in which users can register key words for alerts on newdocument arrivals

The Web homepage is provided in both Japanese and English. Statistics ondocument retrieval show about 3,800 pages accessed per day. Copyright licenseshave been negotiated at reduced subscription costs with the publisher,Elsevier, so that all students, staff and faculty are covered, although this isnot a significant issue given the university's small size of only 1,000students. Video search is provided for approximately 800 titles, running about100 hours of content in MPEG2 (180 GB). The entire digital library contentrequires approximately 6 TB storage, on magnetic tape and magneto-optic diskmedia. The library does not plan any new cataloging approaches different fromMARC format for its digital content. The WTEC panel was shown NAIST's extensivelibrary technical facility where new journals were photocopied, scanned andconverted by OCR.


Speech Processing Technology3/4Speech and Acoustics Laboratory

The major research projects in speech processing include speech recognitionsynthesis, enhancement, coding, and multi-modal dialog interface. NAISTresearchers are conducting interesting new work on synthesizing lip movementbased on mapping from input speech using the method of the Hidden Markov Model(HMM). In the acoustic signal processing they are working on active noisecontrol and sound field reproduction. They demonstrated experiments onthree-dimensional sound generation and additive cancellation from secondarysources measured by two microphones. The experimental facility includes a soundproof chamber with an array of 112 microphones independently input into amultichannel analyzer.

Electronic Design Automation

This well-equipped laboratory is used for LSI layout and related researchand education projects. It includes equipment for printed circuit board designand production, although chip fabrication is conducted at a commercial foundry.One of the projects discussed was a method of binary digital diagrams (BDD),which provides a concise expression of logic functions for small layout areas,while requiring storage of only 2n entries for n variables on many practicallyused logic functions.

ParaDocs Project3/4A Database System for Documents with Object Links

The goal of this effort is the design and implementation of a databasesystem, which can manage structured SGML documents and other data in anintegrated manner. The approach involves the application of database facilitiesin document processing and the management of document components using databasetypes. The parallel text model, or ParaText, has an appearance layer (=character string) and a reference layer (= database objects or valuesrepresented by substrings in the appearance layer). The retrieved informationcan be linked to external databases.


Inoue, M., Satoshi Nakamura, T. Yamada, and K. Shikano.1997. Microphone array design measures for hands-free speech recognition. Eurospeech.

Kimura, S., M. Yukishita, Y. Itou, A. Nagoya, M. Hirao,and K. Watanabe. 1997. A hardware/software co-design method for a generalpurpose reconfigurable co-processor. In Proc. 5th Intern. Workshop onHardware/Software Codesign.

NAIST. 1997. Guide to graduate programs andfacilities.

NAIST. 1996/1997. Digital library of NAIST.

NAIST. n.d.. A database system for documents with objectlink. ParaDocs Project, Grad. School of Information Science.

Nakamura, S. and K. Shikano. 1997. Room acoustics andreverberation: impact on hands-free recognition. EuroSpeech.

Nakamura, K., S. Kimura, K. Takagi, and K. Watanabe. 1998.Timing verification of sequential logic circuits based on controlledmulti-clock path analysis. IEICE Trans. Fundamentals. 12 Dec.

Shikano, K., S. Nakamura, S. Ise, and J. Lu. Speech andacoustics laboratory. NAIST

Yamada, T., S. Nakamura, and K. Shikano. 1997. Speechrecognition of a moving talker based on 3-d viterbi search using a microphonearray. CASA Workshop, IJCAI.

Yamamoto, E., S. Nakamura, and K. Shikano. 1997. Speech tolip movement synthesis by HMM. In Proc. AVSP'97 Workshop. Rhodes,Greece.

Published: February 1999; WTECHyper-Librarian