NTT sets up research facility in Atsugi Prefecture

NTT sets up research facility in Atsugi Prefecture

NTT has established a research facility in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, where the Institute for Fundamental Mathematics was set up in October. NTT Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. NTT has set up a research facility in Atsugi in October to lure a bright mind capable of solving the Riemann hypothesis or other unsolved problems in pure mathematics.

The telecommunications giant hopes to find innovations that could change society and business in the future, including developing an ultimate criptosystem, using research results. The Institute for Fundamental Mathematics was founded on October 1, inside NTT's representation theory facility in Kanagawa Prefecture, Atsugi.

Masato Wakayama, professor emeritus at Kyushu University specializing in representation theory and number theory, was appointed head of the institute to lead a group of 15 or so researchers mainly in their 30 s and 40s.

The institute is known for its quest to take on mathematical conundrums such as the Riemann hypothesis, which is thought to be the key to unravelling the mystery of the distribution of prime numbers. It was proposed by German mathematician Bernhard Riemann in 1859.

A U.S. mathematics institute is offering a $1 million 110 million yen reward for anyone who can solve the problem.

Wakayama said that mathematics has the power to change the way things are viewed. We want to aim for big home runs. Prime numbers such as 2, 3, 5, 7 and 11 appear randomly. Such irregularities can be used in criptographic systems to protect confidential information on credit cards and other confidential information.

The research products are expected to be used to create new and unbreakable criptosystems even by quantum computers, elucidate unknown diseases and discover new drugs.

Wakayama said that research conducted with free thinking and curiosity sometimes becomes explosively useful. We want to create an environment where research can be carried out over the long term. NTT has a strong track record in research and development efforts for materials and devices, as well as basic research in computing science that leads to criptography and other fields.

The institute expects that this latest research effort will last for at least 20 years.

Major tech companies, such as Alphabet Inc., which provides the Google search engine service, Apple Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc., which operates the Facebook social network service, and Inc., have actively recruited mathematicians to capitalize on their findings.

It's rare for a private company to set up a research organization that recruits mathematicians to solve pure mathematical equations that are not directly linked to its services.

Researchers can concentrate on their studies because they are not obliged to teach students, unlike universities.

The institute intends to collaborate with outside researchers to be a research organization on a par with leading universities, according to NTT.