――What kind of research are you doing?
I am doing research on how to predict tsunami. More specifically, I am studying a method called “data simulation.” We make predictions by combining simulation techniques with actual observation data.
This method has been used in atmospheric sciences for some 100 years. In 2015, Prof. Takuto Maeda of the Earthquake Research Institute of the University of Tokyo used this system for tsunami predictions. It makes accurate predictions possible, but the problem was that it required many computer resources. If you are blessed with the luxury of abundant calculation resources like in Japan, it is a different story. But for countries that often suffer damage in tsunami like those along the Indian Ocean, for instance, it is difficult to use this method. I have worked out a way to produce accurate and fast predictions based on the same model but using calculation resources like personal computers we can easily get anywhere. I sent an article on this to an academic journal in the United States and it was released in October, 2017.
――What made you decide to study at the University of Tokyo?
In the summer of 2015 when I was a college junior, I took part in the University of Tokyo Research Internship Program (UTRIP)*1 for the School of Science. On this program, we belong to a research office for six weeks during the summer and get some experience. In my case, I studied in the laboratory of Prof. Kenji Satake who is doing research on tsunami. At one time during those days, I visited Fukushima after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The area sustained devastating tsunami damage and I saw deep and raw scars of the disaster still remaining vividly. I became interested in tsunami, thinking that if the damage is so extensive in an advanced country like Japan, what would happen to other countries. After I returned home and graduated from university, I decided to study in Satake Lab. It is possible to get a degree in English. The Global Science Graduate Course (GSGC)*2 of the School of Science also offers scholarships, which is another reason I chose this university.
――Tell us what you think of the University of Tokyo’s School of Science.
We can do our own research while receiving advice from professors face to face. We can also learn from time to time how we should think and act as a researcher. I consider myself lucky to have become a student at the University of Tokyo.
*1 UTRIP: University of Tokyo Research Internship Program. See page 8.
*2 GSGC: Global Science Graduate Course. See page 8.
Interview and text: Masatsugu Kayahara
Photography: Junichi Kaizuka
Originally published in The School of Science Brochure 2018