(Panoramic View Reports)
Panoramic View of the Information and Communication Field (2013)/CRDS-FY2012-FR-07
Executive Summary

Information and Communication technology (ICT) supports extensive business areas of electronics, telecommunications, embedded devices, and information sys-tems & services. Not to mention the secondary and tertiary industry, as generic tools, ICT is now deeply involved in the systems implementations for the primary industry and society, which are not considered to be directly related to ICT so far. This report describes the research areas of ICT in two aspects or layers: the stra-tegic emerging layer which consists of strategically important areas in terms of the ICT’s relationship with society system design, and the base layer which supports the strategic emerging layer as the computer science foundation.
The perspective view of ICT and its focal research areas are shown in Fig.1. The base layer is a collection of existing disciplines of Device / Hardware, Network, Robotics, Software, Databases, and Intelligence / Human Interaction, as well as the IT Architecture which associates technologies across boundaries, and the Resilient ICT which is non-functional requirements for all of them. In the strategic emerging layer, three disciplines are identified as the new technologies which contribute especially to the ICT enabled social system design: Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), Big Data, and Intelligence Computing.

Owing to the various technological innovations from the semiconductor, circuit mounting, communication, software, to the systems integration, ICT accomplished remarkable progress in respect of cost, performance and benefit. Today computers and networks have widely permeated human society. Technical progress is con-tinuing progressing all things dramatically. Systems architecture has been swinging between concentration and distribution, from a mainframe centric system to a client-server distributed system, and now cloud (centric) computing. Social Networking System or Wikipedia have changed the user role from a consumer to a prosumer who both produces and consumes information. By the emergence of cloud computing the ownership policy of information system is shifting to utilizing computing power and applications on the internet, from possessing them. Loca-tion-based services using car navigations or mobile phones spread new types of lo-cation and context aware services.
The information and network society, so called “Cyber Society”, born in the late 20th century is moving toward the real world in the 21st century; the US initiated “Cyber physical systems” projects, the word "IoT " (Internet of Things) in which all the things are connected to the Internet was also came out. Explosion large scale of digital data brought about a new trend called “Big Data”, which began to have a big influence on business and society. On the other hand, the research on human intellectual activity has been improved to the level which beats a top-class humans in Shogi, the Japanese chess, or in the quiz show “Jeopardy!”. The frontier of the research is going to the elucidation of the brain itself, the structure of acquisition, discovery, propagation of intelligence, and the structure of collective intelligence. The achievement of these researches is expected to lead us to the world where human intellectual quality is more improved, the innovative scientific results propagate quickly into society, and the ICT impact society properly. The research and development of ICT is essential and vital not only in the traditional disciplines of electronics, software, and network but also in the new areas of human behavior, business activity design and overall social activity.

Major characteristics of Japan, US, EU, China and Korea in the ICT field are as follows:

Japanese levels of fundamental technologies have been internationally very high. The typical examples are high performance computing, where the super computer system “K-computer” won the top ranking in 2011, embedded systems, big data processing, natural language processing, and robotics. In the 4th Basic Plan for Science and Technology endorsed by the Cabinet, ICT has been promoted as a part of “Enrich and Strengthen the common platform of the science and technologies”. On the other hand, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications sounds the warning for the decay of the Japanese competitiveness in terms of ICT development indicators, e-government promotion indicators (behind Korea), and the export share and presence among global ICT industries (“ICT strategy for an Active Japan”, July 2012).

US is the world leader in all fields of ICT research and development in as well as the market leader. The hot keywords (concepts) like CPS (Cyber Physical Sys-tems) or Big Data came from US. US government enforces education, fundamental research, and physical & virtual infrastructure as the foundations of its innovation strategy. In order to develop advanced information technology ecosystem, as one of the building blocks of American Innovation, they took five investment areas of “Develop a nationwide, state-of-the-art communication network”, “Expand access to broadband”, “Modernize the electric grid”, “Secure cyber space”, and “Support research for next-generation information and communications technology”.

EU has many world-famous achievements in applied and basic researches, i.e. ARM CPU core that is the world standard of embedded processor for mobiles, Ki-nect sensor or haptic interfaces. EU consisting of many nations with different languages and cultures aims to deliver sustainable economic and social benefits from the Digital Single Market based on ultra fast internet and interoperable ap-plications. EU has promoted cooperation actively among industries, public bodies and academia with its own funding scheme (FP7: the 7th Framework Programme).

China has been achieving steady results in ICT research and development pro-jects led by the government as seen in the world record of a processing speed of Tianhe-I (Milky Way Number One) in 2010. The research levels of natural lan-guage processing and semantic processing are high. The concept of “Wu Lian Wang” that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presented is one of the highlights of the next-generation information technology for strategic emerging industries in the “12th five year plan” in China. Under the concept, many industry confederations are founded successively in Beijin, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Shanghai, to challenge various problems concerning the rapidly growing city.

Korea’s competitiveness of the fundamental technologies in ICT is increasing rapidly. Global companies as represented by Samsung are keeping high shares of the world market in the fields of semiconductor chips, smart phones, and flat panel displays. Korea is also striving new markets in the fields of robotics, smart grid services etc. under the strong leadership of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. A keyword of the Korean growth strategy in ICT field is “IT Convergence”, the integration of conventional industrial technologies and IT, which is a similar con-cept with “Internet of Things” in China or “Cyber Physical Systems (CPS)” of US.