TRON Project Leader's Opinion

Ken Sakamura

Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo

It was 1984 when the TRON Project officially began, but since it had been in preparation from a couple of years earlier, it turns out that actually 20 years has elapsed. Moreover, ITRON has come to the level that it is objectively reported in newspapers and magazines that it "is used in almost all cell-phones and car navigation systems domestically." Up to arriving at this point, there were in fact all sorts of things, but now that the T-Engine project aimed at the next generation environment for ubiquitous computing has commenced, along with being relieved, I am excited thinking about its future shape.

As for ITRON, since we polished up the concept and specification, during the 20 years that elapsed, although we encountered all sorts of competition and interference, large numbers of people participated, and as a result of all sorts of effort, we arrived up to the present. This in no way came about through my power alone. I would like to thank the many people who cooperated with me.

Upon entering the 21st century, the price of DRAMs fell to one-tenth in a year, and even domestically the retreat of large makers has begun. The demand for personal computers also is finally running out of steam. No matter who the maker, their business results are not good. Also, with newly marketed digital home appliance devices, there are actually a lot of initial defects and sales delays. It is rare for bugs not to be found in newly marketed cell-phones and digital recorders. When we try to realize highly functional software, various types of bugs get in no matter what, and there is not time to test all cases. We have to raise the productivity of embedded software, greatly reduce its cost, and furthermore diminish the frequency of the appearance of bugs. It will become impossible for the entire electronics industry to do as it is doing at present. The times are on the brink of changing greatly. For that very reason, we started a project like T-Engine that even looks modest at a glance.

The prescription of hardware in T-Engine in particular is aimed at spurring the provision and the distribution of middleware. The distribution of middleware on top of a standardized embedded platform holds the key to the reutilization of improving productivity.

Not limited to embedded software, my interest lies in the "distribution of knowledge," which I also stressed when promoting the digital museum. The development of the Internet and the making of highly functional and low cost computers has made it possible for us to share the various types of knowledge that people possess. It will also become possible for individuals in the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands who are separated far apart to construct through the networks systems that exceed the development power of large enterprises. Among non-profit organizations (NPOs) that do not have profits as their goal, the very sharing of knowledge becomes strength. In the 21st century, the sharing of knowledge in various fields will probably become quite natural.

The above opinion piece by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura appeared on page 1 of Vol. 73 of TRONWARE. It was translated and loaded onto this page with the permission of Personal Media Corporation.

Copyright © 2002 Personal Media Corporation

Copyright © 2002 Sakamura Laboratory, University Museum, University of Tokyo