Calit2 Hosts Kyoto Prize Laureate Hirotugu Akaike at UC San Diego

By Doug Ramsey, 858-822-5825,

Hirotugu Akaike Receives Kyoto Prize
Prior to Hirotugu Akaike's speech at Calit2, the audience was treated to a super-high-definition replay of the 2007 Kyoto Prize ceremony, which took place earlier in the year. Originally recorded in 4K -- four times the resolution of high-def TV -- the video signal was transmitted via optical fiber from Keio University to Calit2, where attendees in San Diego were able to listen to real-time translation from Japanese to English of speeches and presentations by Akaike and other prizewinners. (Later, in his talk to the Calit2 audience, Akaike spoke in English.)
San Diego, CA, March 27, 2007  -- A Japanese statistician who developed a powerful modeling tool used in a variety of engineering fields delivered a Kyoto Prize Symposium lecture at Calit2 at UC San Diego recently. Hirotugu Akaike is the 2007 Kyoto Prize Laureate for basic sciences, and was one of three prizewinners participating in the sixth annual Kyoto Prize Symposium, held each year in San Diego and jointly hosted by the region's three universities.

Akaike's March 15 talk to a packed audience in Atkinson Hall featured his reflections on the eponymously named "Akaike Information Criterion" (AIC), which allows relationships to be identified within vast volumes of numeric data. Since the mathematician from Tokyo's Institute for Statistical Mathematics first scribbled it onto a party invitation while riding the subway in 1970, the AIC has spread to applications in wireless communications, digital imaging (for medicine, astronomy and homeland security, among other uses), gene analysis, economics, weather forecasting and manufacturing. 

With a standing-room-only crowd of more than 300 people overflowing the auditorium into the multipurpose room next door, and hundreds more watching a live telecast to Keio University in Tokyo, the program also featured short talks by scientists who provided first-hand recognition of the impact that Akaike and his AIC have had in various fields. The talks are now available for on-demand viewing from the Calit2 Multimedia archive. To watch individual streaming video clips, click on the image or video link below [Real player and broadband connection required ].

Introduction: Mark Thiemens
Dean, Division of Physical Sciences; Prof, Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD.
Length: 10:23  [video]
Rick Puetter Rick Puetter
Research Physicist, Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences,  UCSD.
Length: 9:01  [video]
Kenneth Burnham Kenneth Burnham
USGS Senior Scientist; Professor of Biological Statistics, Colorado State University.
Length: 8:54  [video]
Heisuku Hironaka Heisuku Hironaka
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Harvard University and Kyoto University.
Length: 12:05  [video]
Hirotugu Akaike, Kyoto Prize Laureate Hirotugu Akaike
Kyoto Prize Laureate; Professor Emeritus, Institute for Statistical Mathematics.
Length: 30:39    [video]

The other Kyoto Prize Symposium events in San Diego highlighted this year's prizewinners in two other categories: advanced technology, awarded to Stanford geneticist Leonard Herzenberg, who spoke at San Diego State University; and arts and philosophy, for which fashion designer Issey Miyake was honored this year. He spoke at the University of San Diego.

The Kyoto Prize is an international award honoring those who have contributed significantly to humankind's scientific, cultural, and spiritual development. Consisting of academic honors, a commemorative gold medal and a cash gift of approximately $450,000, the prize is Japan's highest private award for human achievement.

Related Links
North American Kyoto Prize Website