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Posting from Louisville, Kentucky

I recently had a lunch with one of my old friends from high school. We have been in close touch again since his participation in our company’s private event ‘KKE Vision’ last autumn. He is a man with deep intellectual curiosity, and takes on new challenges one after another. He had worked for a major advertising agency for 20 years, and resigned from the company to open his personal office and to establish various businesses. It is said that there are only 20% of those who could lead their own business to success after leaving a large ad agency. Today, he is an external auditor and an external board member of listed companies on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

With his strong curiosity, he reads many books more than I do. At lunch, he recommended me to read “Sensou Shikikan Abraham Lincoln” (meaning Commander Lincoln in English.) I happened to see the movie “Lincoln” by Steven Spielberg recently, and having interests in his stories, I took the book with me on the way to my business trip to Louisville, Kentucky. The book was remarkable and I read it all in one gulp. It was about how Morse code had a large influence on the civil war and how Lincoln effectively utilized it for his strategy. It is incredible to think that the entire American society trusted their future to one man’s hand.

Japan has learned a lot from the United States at various levels, from individual life style to the construction of society. But one of the large differences is that the United States has built and earned its own history, sometimes by paying heavy prices, since the time of Abraham Lincoln. China and South Korea have their own courses of history. So when it comes for Japan to convince other countries today, its arguments seem to be weak and lacking in persuasion. Japan maybe too vulnerable without finding how to live vigorously.

“Our solutions and services empower society in its safety, environment and economy. To get an overview of what we offer, here are some interviews from our customers from ITC and manufacturing!

Event Report

Utilization of Multi Agent Simulator
-For new discovery and understanding mechanism-

On March 14th, MAS Competition 2014 was held at KKE by its Innovative Information Technology department.

Started in 2001, MAS Competition is KKE's annual event that calls for case studies and research accomplishments done by “artisoc”, a MAS (Multi Agent Simulator) software, among academic students all over Japan. It is a place where MAS users get together to exchange their ideas and latest research.

The 14th MAS Competition received many applications from all over Japan, out of which 11 research projects were presented at the venue.

At the competition, the applicants presented wide varieties of simulation using MAS, from disaster counter-measures, traffic/transportation planning, marketing, visualization of complex algorithms, to anthropology and archeology. I find it as one of the unique points of MAS that it can handle such diverse themes.

Opening speech of the 14th MAS competition

Aside from those case studies, special lectures were made by two professors, Prof. Izumi Kiyoshi from The University of Tokyo and Prof. Hashimoto Takashi from Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Prof. Izumi presented WWB (Would-be World Browser) that predicts an ideal future simulated by MAS. Prof. Hashimoto gave a lecture on the difference between realistic simulation and constructive simulation. I was fascinated to know how simulation holds various potentials to design our still unknown future.

“I wasn’t aware that such excellent research is ongoing among students in universities and grad schools. I would like to stimulate my students and have them participate in the MAS competition,” says Prof. Hashimoto during the awarding ceremony.
Lastly, the award was given to the fellows below!

Grand prize:

・The University of Tokyo: Mr. Yohei Fujigaki

“Research on development and utilization of simulator for taxi sharing operation –Application for planning new vehicle sharing services- ”

・Doshisha University: Ms. Ayaka Iwasaki

“Evaluation of opt transportation in urban -Explore Kyoto! -”

For your information, details of the presentations are to be updated on the web page below by MAS competition head office.
Related studies (Japanese only) will also be available online from May.

Yuko Moritake, Public Relations team

Minitab 17 Release Seminar
-Improve business with the power of statistical analysis-

The demand for utilizing data analysis and statistics for quality improvement are gradually increasing in Japan, but the practice has not become common yet.

Since KKE provides Minitab, statistical analysis software developed by Minitab Inc., the KKE Minitab team held a seminar to empower those who are eager to utilize statistical analysis in their actual operations on April 8th, 2014. The seminar was held under the title “How to Improve Statistical Literacy; to Improve Organization and Educate Human Resource”. More than 50 participants gathered to learn how to enhance their organizational growth by educating statistical mind of their staff and conducting company training.

The opening started with the welcome speech by Mr. Patrick Sheehan, Sr. Asian Business Development Coordinator at Minitab Inc., and Mr. Takeyasu Hirose followed by introducing the new features of Minitab 17. Devoting four years to its upgrade based on its users’ requests, the software allows users a greater analytical power with its latest functions. The new features were explained including technical details along with the demonstrations.

Moreover, the seminar had special presenters, Mr. Yoshitaka Yamamoto from TADANO Ltd. and Mr. Hitoshi Hasegawa from JATCO Ltd., to share their case studies of improving organization through company training.

Mr. Yamamoto shared how he succeeded in introducing Minitab to his company; where there were only few employees with experience in statistics. Encountering similar difficulties, participants were inspired by his actions and solutions.

Mr. Hasegawa spoke about how the introduction of V-Up Program, a problem solving method, successfully changed their daily operations and organization by enlightening every executive and member of staff to utilize the program. He also stated the importance of statistical analysis and the valuable results it would bring to their company’s future.

(left) Mr. Yoshitaka Yamamoto from TADANO Ltd.
(right) Mr. Hitoshi Hasegawa from JATCO Ltd.

It was inspiring that both speakers noted that statistical software is not a magic box but a tool which could solve ones' problem when used correctly. In addition, their strong will and passion to achieve their goals were notable.

Continuously, KKE's Minitab team will strive to support companies to develop professionals who are able to utilize the power of statistical analysis in their business.

Learning the Latest Technology in Boston

KKE has many collaborators with a variety of academic organizations, and one of the most unique institutions is the MIT Media Lab. Our company has been a member since 2007, introduced by Professor Hiroshi Ishii, the associate director of the MIT Media Lab and head of the Lab’s Tangible Media group.

Media Lab conducts various kinds of technology research similar to other tech institutes, but what impresses me is the Media Lab’s focus on developing technology. They seek technologies that no one needs today, but may become ordinary for everyone in the future.

Every spring and fall, they hold an event for members in order to share their latest research, to discuss collaborative project or to develop a network between members and Lab researchers. As several KKE members attend this meeting every year, I have attended the spring meeting last month with four of my colleagues.

The event was composed of panel discussions with renowned guests and professors, introductions of the latest researches, unconferences, receptions, and Open Houses in which we could hang around all over the building as if we were in a huge toy box!

We all enjoyed and were inspired by the cutting-edge, creative and artistic research. Also, exchanging opinions with other members who share the similar interests was very fruitful. We believe some new business opportunities will arise from these activities sooner or later.

Kazuaki Hemmi, Denver Office


Editor's Note

“Spring has come to Japan. Have you experienced the Japanese-style cherry blossom viewing, "Hanami"?
Hanami is not only to view, but also to picnic under the cherry blossom trees.
It is said that there are the two origins of Hanami.

One is an agricultural event held by farmers. The ancient farmers thought the bloom of cherry blossoms meant the arrival of the Spirit that grows rice crops. It was their tradition to offer foods and sake to the Spirit under the cherry blossom trees to pray for a good harvest for the coming autumn.

Another origin is a poetry party held among aristocrats in the Heian and Nara eras. The word "cherry blossoms" represents spring and reminds people of the beauty of the season. They enjoyed the luxury of writing poems while watching the cherry blossom trees.

The style of today's Hanami may be a mix of these two origins. If you have a chance to visit Japan in spring, let's try Hanami together with KKE members!

April, 2014 Sho Tamura

About KKE

Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc. (Head Office: Nakano-ku, Tokyo, President & CEO: Shota Hattori, “KKE” for short) is a professional design & engineering firm established in 1959. Starting its business as a structural firm, KKE has developed the line of business in structural design and analysis, engineering consulting and system development for construction, tele-com, and manufacturing industries. The business pillars also include simulation and analysis of human decision making, quantitative measurement of human/commodity flow, and disaster readiness services including quake-resistant engineering, risk assessment, analyses on facility damage and business continuity, etc. Details: www.kke.co.jp/en/

Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc.
Marketing Strategy and Overseas Dept.
TEL:+81-3-5318-3091 / FAX:+81-3-5318-3095

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