51. Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, Kentaro GO

2015-02-01

In ‘Conahana-san of the Month’, we discuss the experiences of senior researchers who have successfully managed to balance their research/work with life events such as childbirth, child care and family care.

This month we will interview with Professor Go, who engages in the research of Intelligence Information Science in the Faculty of Engineering. When he introduces himself he always says “I’m Go of Hiromi Go!” He has such a frank personally to make you feel you already know him (^^).

◎ Introduction of Prof. Kentaro Go

Organization: Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering Science (Division of Engineering), University of Yamanashi

Specialty: Intelligence Information Science (Human-computer Interaction) (User Interface) (Software Engineering)

・Hello, Professor! My first question is, where are you from?

I’m from Kumamoto.

・Kumamoto?! Oh, it’s so far from here… What kind of a child were you when you were little Mr. Go in Kumamoto?

I was a boy who was fond of making things and reading. My uncle who worked in the engineering field also affected me, to play at taking apart a wind-up clock or doing soldering iron. At the same time, I loved science fiction, and because of these tastes (?), I wanted to be an “astronaut” in the future.

・Fantastic! And what happened later to the boy who aspired to be an astronaut?

I spent my middle-school days without knowing what to do to be an astronaut. When choosing high school, I had believed that there would be possibilities to get involved in a space-related work if I learn technologies earlier. Also because of an influence from my uncle, I entered the department of information engineering of Kumamoto National College of Radio Waves (present Kumamoto National College of Technology).

・You were a brilliant student! How come such a student entered this university?

I’m not sure I was brilliant… but do you want to know the reason I came here?  It’s rather a long story (lol).

・Yes, I do♪ I will listen to your story no matter how long it takes, as long as your time permits!

Well, I had decided to transfer to a university after college, and the University of Yamanashi was one of the few universities that accept transference from technical colleges, back in those days. Besides, my mentor (an admirable nice teacher) in my college had also transferred from a national college to the University of Yamanashi, and one of my seniors had also transferred from other technical college to this university and was active there in “Bado” club. So although Yamanashi was a new place for me, I didn’t have to worry about coming here.

・Bado club is the badminton club, isn’t it?

That’s right. I gave myself over to badminton. I started it in the college, but my doubles partner had been famous even in his middle school days. Thanks to his play, we won a championship at a national tournament for technical college students (^^)v  As a matter of fact, another reason I took the transfer exam of the University of Yamanashi was that the date of the preliminary tournament before the national championship didn’t fall on the day of exam. The exam day of this university was the earliest among the universities which presented transference examination, and even its result announcement was earlier than the tournament. I thought that if I would pass the exam before, I would be preparing for the game without worries. I was so involved in it, and maybe because that senior player was still in this university, on the very day of the examination, I played badminton with him soon after the exam, in the gymnasium (lol).

・Really?! How deeply were you involved in badminton?! (lol)

This episode continues; Not only on the day of transference exam, but also on the day I moved into Kofu city, a week before the entrance ceremony, I was playing it in the intensified training of the badminton club. After the exercise, I noticed I didn’t know where my flat was. 

・Do you mean you got lost?

In those days there was a customary practice that the technical college seniors find a flat for their juniors, and my flat had also been decided by my senior. But without confirming a new place to live I went to the club, and after exercise, I had to ask him “By the way, where is my flat?”(lol) Speaking of him, he is Professor Kakio in the Electronics and Electrical Engineering. He is my great senior who has always been helpful to me, whom I haven’t returned favor enough even now!

・Badminton extended your network! It is wonderful to have peers. How was the life in this university afterwards?

Actually, I had a hard time for my study. I had studied information engineering in the college, but the department of the same field in the University of Yamanashi didn’t accept transfer admission at that time, so I entered the department of Electric Engineering of a similar but different field. In the college of technology, students finish learning of basic subjects and some special subjects of their fields, and they don’t have to study so hard after a transfer. But I had to study basic subjects from the first for the field was different. That was a struggle for me.

・But your profile says that you majored in “Information Engineering” at the Graduate School, doesn’t it?

Oh, yes, that’s right. I had to change my field for the condition of the transfer admission, but I already had had strong interest in cognitive engineering and user interface, and was willing to go back to the field of information engineering when entering a graduate school. For my master’s course, I searched for a laboratory for the research of cognitive engineering, and I found my way in a graduate school of the Tohoku University.

・Could you describe specifically how you found the graduate school laboratory you desired to enter?

Normally students do not change their study field. The researchers and laboratories for future study can be naturally found on the extension of their study as long as the direction is set. Advisors will also help them. But in my case, it was not in my continuation and I had to search for it by myself. I was an undergraduate when I started it, so I checked textbooks of cognitive engineering for its researchers and organizations. In doing so I found which university was active on the research. There was a list of universities adopting huge scientific research fund, too. Since I had been interested in Tohoku University for the influence of my teacher in my technical college, I checked the university’s master theses and the titles of doctoral dissertations in a library. There wasn’t internet at that time, so I got information through the university’s magazine “Electrical Communication Discussion Record”. After all, I went on to the Tohoku University for the reason that the graduate school provided studies for what I had been interested in. However, I found that the cognitive engineering study had just been started there and the contents were a little bit different from what I had expected. So eventually, I engaged in communication-protocol-related research.

 ・After that you studied at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for several years.

Yes, I did. Although I had not been good at English at all.

・Really? But was it possible to enter a doctoral course without having crossed “the barrier of English”?

What was waiting for him?! Please look forward to the episode of his study in the US!