Found in translation: How Data connects the world, a journey to Japan

Dean view from Japanese Hotel

The Translational Data Analytics (TDA) Discovery Theme was the first of the university’s eight focus areas to be rolled-out two years ago. It is a powerful way to connect experts across diverse disciplines to generate new possibilities for solving today’s complex problems.

I have been honored to serve as its lead dean and happy to say that we have hired more than 30 incredibly gifted faculty researchers since its launch. They are engaged in foundational research leading to real world applications leading to more foundational research in an endless loop of discovery.

The outcome of my recent trip to Japan, arranged by ASC alumnus Shuzaburo Takeda (PhD, physics, 1969), is a perfect example of how we can work with external partners around the world to apply data analytics to their particular research problems.

I met Takeda at a Business Higher Educational Forum meeting. Takeda, well connected to Japanese businesses, government and higher education, was quick to see an opportunity to introduce translational data analytics to Japan and invited the TDA team to visit this year.

Two weeks ago, TDA Program Director David Mangeau, Interim TDA Director Raghu Machiraju and I set off for Tokyo where we met with top executives of some of Japan’s most powerful companies, top people at Japanese universities, and high-placed government officials. We arrived Monday and were in non-stop meetings Tuesday through Thursday and only caught our breath on our flight back on Friday.

Although our hotel was in the heart of Tokyo, certainly one of the world’s great cities, there was little time for anything other than work. However, as deeply focused as we were, we DID have to eat. I am a great fan of sushi and sashimi and took full advantage of the opportunity. It was fantastic!

It was great to leave Tokyo well-fed, having made significant connections and established a model for future productive outcomes, among them faculty research exchanges and internships for our students, both graduate and undergraduate.

This is just one example of the impact TDA@OhioState is having and will continue to have.

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