TRON Project Leader's Opinion

Ken Sakamura

The University Museum, The University of Tokyo

Recently, as one application of the TRON Project, I have been very interested in how knowledge should be stacked, classified, and distributed. Although I have established a new concept called the digital museum and rolled it out before the world, today's museums, which one wouldn't go so far as to call digital museums, are interesting. To put it in broad terms, they are places where the things humankind has done up to now are arranged and stored. Museums with a particular purpose are drawing attention worldwide even in organizations such as enterprises; referred to as so-called enterprise museums, they arrange what has been done up to the present and display business results.

There are often cases where an enterprise keeps a museum in a part of the headquarters organization, but next to the entrance of Intel Corporation's headquarters in Santa Clara, California, is a small museum (a large space is not suitable for microprocessors exhibits!). Here, what Intel has done historically since it was established in 1968 along with how it is linked to society is on display in an easy to understand manner. The history of Intel is one and the same as the history of the microprocessor; it's really something, both as science and technology and industrial history. If you visit Silicon Valley, it's worth seeing. In order to show the fine submicron processing of microprocessors, there is a nice exhibit of how minute it is by comparing it with human hair, and it is possible to concisely learn what a clean room is, how semiconductor chips are manufactured, and so on. Although companies like Intel, whose own history is the history of microprocessors, are rare, if the major companies of Silicon Valley exhibited their technological milestones and networked them together, they would probably form as is the history of computers.

Although this shows the depth of America's technological base, in San Diego there is a high-tech museum called The Tech Museum. Here, manufactured products and technical service contributions are gathered from throughout the U.S. in a museum centered on technology that even the city's redevelopment public corporation has invested in. The principle aim is on education in particular. There are easy to understand exhibits on what types of principles telecommunications and computers run by and how these things influence society. There are always lots of primary and middle school visiting on study tours. Even though people are saying education is important in Japan also, there are few high-tech museums, educational organizations such as The Tech Museum, for example, where one can learn through experience. I understand what education is, but as one approach to things that are vague, it would be nice if it received more attention.

As one would expect when looking at America, you feel how the depth of a base of many people forming an organization and working steadily appears in this kind of place. In education, deciding on the curriculum and then teaching in exact accordance with that is of course important, but aren't devices that give young people a familiarity and make them take an interest also important? In looking at numerous examples in America of the nation and enterprises cooperatively grappling with the teaching of technology, I feel to myself: wouldn't good if in Japan also we put all our energy into grappling not just with things in the slightly distant future, but in this field--what we call education.

The above opinion piece by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura appeared on page 1 of Vol. 58 of TRONWARE. It was translated and loaded onto this page with the permission of Personal Media Corporation.

Copyright © 1999 Personal Media Corporation

Copyright © 1999 Sakamura Laboratory, University Museum, University of Tokyo