Bulletin of Keio University Faculty of Science and Technology
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AkikoTakeda Return to my alma mater after working as a scientist for an industrial company

photoWhy did you return to TIT’s laboratory two years later?
      My job at the electric machinery manufacturer was exciting and fulfilling because my clients were pleased with my work and I could see my research results leading to new products or patents. There was nothing to complain about.
      At the company’s laboratory I could discuss with my fellow researchers about each other’s research theme. But I sometimes felt a little lonely since I was assigned to do the job by myself and there was no one around me on the same professional level to discuss about my research theme. While I was allowed to continue my research work, the problem was that I was not permitted to write any theses freely due to patent-related reasons.
      Just two years after I joined the company, I was told, “Would you like to apply for a post of assistant at the Tokyo Institute of Technology? This will be the last chance for you to come back to TIT as a research scientist.” So I made up my mind to do so.
      Until then, I had not been confident enough to be able to establish myself as a researcher. I knew I was not the genius type. I also felt that I was not suited to pursue an academic career . . . I finally made up my mind to dedicate myself to study when I left the electric machinery manufacturer to return to the university. It was rather recently, only six to seven years ago. (laughter)

Then you moved again from the TIT’s laboratory to Keio University, right?
      I returned to Keio two years ago. I got married around the time that I returned to the TIT’s laboratory that had a fixed term of service. Since my husband works as a research scientist for a university in Tokyo, my choice of workplace was limited to universities in the Tokyo Metropolitan area if I were to live with him under one roof. It was just about that time that Keio announced to publicly invite a researcher, for which I applied. I was more than happy when I was able to return to my alma mater, Keio.

Is your husband also engaged in studies similar to yours?
      Yes, he is an OR research scientist like myself. I sometimes partner with him on a joint thesis. Some of my friends ask me, “Being a husband-and-wife team doing a joint thesis, don’t you quarrel?” Every time we quarrel, my husband always gives up. However, there’s a division of roles: as a specialist in financial engineering, my husband performs his role within his specialized field while I take charge of the theory side so we never quarrel. Right now we are working together on a joint thesis, which is in the finishing stage. We are positively stimulating each other even at home, often discussing about studies, asking for advice and so on.

It’s wonderful that the husband and wife can talk about studies while understanding each other’s work. By the way, what subjects are you now teaching at the university?
      For sophomores and third-graders, I’m teaching OR, my specialty, in addition to mathematics. Also six seniors belong to my laboratory.
      The TIT’s laboratory for which I had worked as an assistant is famous worldwide and there were many students in the doctor’s course as well as foreign students. But my own laboratory at Keio was established just recently and about half of my students will leave the campus as undergraduates. In this sense, my lab is still in the “preparation” stage, you might say. In short, I’m educating these students so that they will become able to properly write theses on their own and be able to conduct joint studies with me one day.
      For those students eager to study for a period of three years including the master’s course, I give them the latest research themes while trying to have discussions on an ongoing basis. On the other hand, for students who will end their campus life as undergraduates, I’m trying to support them in matters of their interest so that they can enjoy studies.
      A student who likes playing darts, for example, is engaged in study on optimization of darts as the extension of his hobby. When it comes to a student whose hobby is playing the flute, I encourage him to use the optimization technique to restore part of a musical score that was lost in war fire.



A complete change from an elementary school dropout to a scientist
Return to my alma mater after working as a scientist for an industrial company
I’d like “optimization” to be  known and used by more people
Profile AkikoTakeda Ms. Takeda engages in the development of optimization techniques that take uncertainty factors into account. She addresses the development of algorithms for efficiently solving optimization problems in fields such as financial engineering and statistical machine learning. After obtaining the degree of Doctor of Science in 2001, she joined Toshiba Corporation’s R&D Center as a staff researcher. She then became Assistant Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Information Science and Engineering. From 2008 to present, she serves as Assistant Professor at Keio University’s Faculty of Science and Technology.

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