Tokyo Tech News

Twenty years of lifelong learning with Ota City


Published: August 27, 2018

The year 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of collaboration in lifelong learning between Tokyo Tech and Ota City, the area extending southeast of Ookayama Campus. This year, six Tokyo Tech faculty members shared their expert knowledge with local residents, explaining the relationship between their research and broader society.

Assoc. Prof. Tohru Yagi speaking to lecture participants

Assoc. Prof. Tohru Yagi speaking to lecture participants

"Ota City Residents' University" lectures provided by Tokyo Tech

Brain-nerve interface connecting human and machine

Tohru Yagi

Associate Professor, School of Engineering

Can AI exceed humans?

—Interpreting paintings of Genji—

Akihiko Konagaya

Professor, School of Computing

How is AI a problem, or is it?

Masashi Shirabe

Professor, Institute for Liberal Arts

Mathematics powers artificial intelligence

Sumio Watanabe

Professor, School of Computing

Craving information - The cerebral neural mechanism

Kiyohiko Nakamura

Professor, School of Computing

New public delivery systems through shared automated transportation

Yasuo Asakura

Professor, School of Environment and Society

Ota City has been providing its residents with lifelong learning opportunities through the "Ota City Residents' University" initiative since 1971, and Tokyo Tech has been involved for the past two decades. A local volunteer group ― Friends of the Natural Sciences ― collaborates with Ota City to plan the topic for each lecture, match Tokyo Tech professors to these topics, and create flyers which are distributed to the local community. The collaboration, coordinated by Professor Shin-ya Koshihara at the Tokyo Tech end, continues to prosper.

The 2018 lectures, provided once a week from late May to early July on Ookayama Campus, were again extremely popular. Despite a 90-person capacity for each lecture, participants had to be selected via lottery by the local government. While the majority of students were working adults or retirees eager to learn more about cutting-edge technology, there was a notable presence of university and high school students in the lecture halls.

Tokyo Tech's lifelong learning opportunities are attracting an increasingly diverse audience. The Institute and its faculty members continue to cooperate actively with Ota City in order to provide its residents with meaningful learning experiences.


Shin-ya Koshihara

Professor, School of Science