Design method and its applications for intelligent information and communication systems

 With the penetration and expansion of global information networks, such as the Internet, an urgent need for information and communication systems to provide effective user-oriented applications and intelligent services that meet various demands of many users has become essential. However, these information and communication systems are usually of large-scale and complex and the design process has become increasingly difficult and important in terms of the system development.

 Norio Shiratori, Kenji Sugawara and Tetsuo Kinoshita have focused on the importance of this issue since the mid of 1980s and had started the research work on methodology to develop the information and communication systems to support the upcoming information society. As a basic guideline of the design, the first concept is to reuse the design heuristics and expertise of skillful designers. The second one is to improve the flexibility and robustness of the architecture of the network system based on the proposed framework to develop them.

 The proposed design method of the study on the design support system is based on the first concept, called knowledge-based design methodology. An outstanding point in this method is not only to use the expert knowledge of application and network, but also to provide a framework to reuse them and defined specifications in different design processes of computer network systems. By providing this methodology, it can support the systematic design of higher layer protocols and application services working over the information and communication systems. In the fifteen papers published in 1988 IEEE special issue of JSAC on Knowledge-Based Systems for Communications, three papers based on the research work of Shiratori’s group were selected. The research results of this group, including the previous papers, are regarded as pioneering research in this field.

 Based on these results, they have started another innovative research on this concept since early 1990s. As the basis of the information and communication system design, a concept called “flexible networks” is proposed as the next-generation network system. This concept was also proposed to aim at realizing essential functions for the next-generation network to deal with frequent changes of user’s requests, operating conditions, network system configurations and so on. Furthermore, they proposed and provided an agent framework of ADIPS in order to support the development of the flexible network system based on the proposed concept. The ADIPS framework provides flexibility for a huge distributed system by organizing and reorganizing its configuration autonomously.

 Using the proposed methodology, they promoted a research project to provide a practical support environment for developing flexible network systems and applications, funded by the IPA (Information technology Promotion Agency) since 1996 to 1998. One of the results, such as knowledge-based support system, was effectively used in practical application. In addition, improvements and extensions to the methodology were carried out to develop applications of intelligent support system for elderly people. The experiments of the application systems, which take care of social actions of elderly people inside and outside their residences by autonomous agents, were successfully completed.

 As mentioned above, they fulfilled a role appropriate for providing a fundamental methodology and enhancing the application technology for the upcoming network-based society, and kept directing their efforts toward industrial technology transfer of the proposed methodology.

 In 2001, Norio Shiratori, Kenji Sugawara and Tetsuo Kinoshita were awarded “Achievement Award” by IEICE for their contribution in the technology.


[1] Noriao Shiratori, Tetsuo Kinoshita and Kenji Sugawara、Flexible Networks: Basic Concepts and Architecture、1994、IEICE Transactions on Communications, Vol.E77-B, No.11, pp.1287-1294, November 1994
[2] Norio Shiratori, Tetsuo Kinoshita and Kenji Sugawara、Towards Human-Agent Symbiotic Space: Post-modern Distributed System、1997、Journal of the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers, Vol.80, No.2, pp.165-168, 1997
[3] Norio Shiratori, Tetsuo Kinoshita and Kenji Sugawara、Flexible Networks、2002、Journal of the Information Processing Society of Japan, Vol.43, No.6, pp.639-644, 2002

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