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Rakuten Institute of Technology

Rakuten Institute of Technology: Industry-Academia Partnerships Foster Student Learning and the Future of the Internet
In 2005, Rakuten established the Rakuten Institute of Technology, a research institution dedicated to forecasting the future of the Internet and creating new technologies. The institute provides support for activities which leverage the expertise and interests of its researchers, developing leading-edge technologies and innovative services which are applicable not just to Rakuten’s businesses but to the internet as a whole. As part of this initiative, the institute is strengthening industry-academia partnerships. And with the academic knowledge and human capital of an Internet company, it is working actively to make new forms of collaboration a reality.

Industry-Academia Partnerships

Industry-academia partnerships administered by the Rakuten Institute of Technology include joint research with various universities, the Rakuten R&D Symposium, an annual academic conference for announcing research findings, and activities in support of academic associations in the field of information engineering.

Joint Research with Universities
Rakuten Institute of Technology has made use of massive amounts of data from Rakuten Group business activities to conduct wide-ranging collaborative research initiatives. These include applying feedback from customers of Rakuten Travel, our comprehensive travel site, to research natural language processing with the University of Electro-Communications, and applying purchase data from Rakuten Books, our online bookseller, to work with the Keio Research Institute at SFC on researching the long tail concept.
Japan's First Private Sector Symposium on Future Internet Technologies
The Rakuten R&D Symposium, held annually, was the first symposium in Japan focusing on future internet technologies and services held by a private sector company. The symposium invites young researchers to announce and discuss new ideas and discoveries, with the goal of supporting technological innovation.
At Rakuten R&D Symposium 2009, the second year of the conference, some 140 participants gathered and actively debated the findings of around 20 researchers. That year a review committee was established to assess the practicality and feasibility of ideas from a business standpoint, as well as analyze research from an academic perspective.
Rakuten Research and Development Symposium 2009 review Committee
Hirotake Abe Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology
Takashi Iba Associate Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University
Rikio Onai Professor, Faculty of Electro-Communications, University of Electro-Communications
Kazutoshi Sumiya Professor, University of Hyogo, School of Human Science and Environment
Satoshi Sekine Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, New York University
Keiji Takeda Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information, Keio University
Katsumi Tanaka Professor, Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University
Jiro Tanaka Professor, Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Tsukuba
Shigeru Chiba Professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Hidehiko Masuhara Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo
Hayato Yamana Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
Akinori Yonezawa Professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, University of Tokyo
Masaya Mori Rakuten Institute of Technology, Rakuten, Inc.
Yukihiro Matsumoto Rakuten Institute of Technology, Rakuten, Inc.
Hiromi Hirano Rakuten Institute of Technology, Rakuten, Inc.

Support and Collaboration with Academic Associations Creating New Technologies
In 2009, the Rakuten Institute of Technology was a special co-sponsor of the ACM-ICPC Asia Tokyo Regional Contest, one of the world's preeminent programming contests. Sponsored by the Japan branch of the U.S.-based Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), the event has become a well-established tradition, having been held 34 times as of fiscal 2009.
The institute co-sponsored the event as it holds the potential to help raise Internet technology levels in Japan, and supports students of IT who are striving to take their programming techniques to a world-leading level.

Partnering with WebDB Forum
In 2009, the Rakuten Institute of Technology further strengthened industry-academia ties by helping to sponsor WebDB Forum 2009, an academic conference held by three organizations, the Information Processing Society of Japan's Database System Group, the Database Society of Japan, and the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers' Technical Committee on Data Engineering. The institute both sponsored and collaborated with the forum. On Rakuten's recommendation, three researchers who produced exceptional research first announced at the Rakuten R&D Symposium 2009 gave presentations at the forum. This was the first time we collaborated in an academic conference, and we intend to strengthen such participation in the future.

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