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Toshiba Set to Triple AI Engineers with Training Program Developed with the University of Tokyo

With HR development program and big data, Toshiba Group aims for 2,000 AI engineers by FY2022
7 Nov, 2019

 

Tokyo—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced that it has developed an AI engineer training program in collaboration with the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo (hereinafter “Tokyo University”) that aims to strengthen Toshiba’s AI engineers.

The program will be introduced in December this year, and will allow participants to master the latest AI methodologies. Classroom training will be reinforced through practical exercises using big data belonging to Toshiba, an approach that will also promote utilization of that data. Through this and other initiatives to reinforce in-house capabilities, Toshiba aims to increase its headcount of AI engineers from 750 today to 2,000 by FY2022. This improvement in the quality and scale of its AI research and development assets will support the company in its continuing transformation to become a world-leading Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) technology company.

AI is now applied in all kinds of industrial fields, including manufacturing and social infrastructure development. However, there are serious shortages of AI engineers, both in Japan and overseas, to the point where the Japanese government estimates that Japan will face a shortfall of about 48,000 advanced IT engineers responsible for IoT and AI technologies*1 by as soon as next year, 2020. There is thus an urgent need to train engineers able to support and promote the spread of AI technologies.

Toshiba is advancing research and development of AI that integrates core technologies for design and manufacturing data the company has accumulated through its wide range of business activities, from semiconductors to social infrastructure facilities. Toshiba has already won a good reputation for its work in AI*2; for example, a 2019 World Intellectual Property Organization’s study*3 reported that Toshiba has the world’s third-largest portfolio of AI-related patent applications.

Toshiba believes that training more highly capable AI engineers is necessary to further advance AI research and development. In July 2019, the company developed the “Toshiba AI Engineer Program,” bringing together knowledge Toshiba cultivated through previous AI technology development with knowledge acquired in the advanced training of the “Course for Learning AI Using Actual Data (AI Data Frontiers Course),” a project commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization at Tokyo University. This program provided training in AI methodologies ranging from classic machine learning to the latest topics in deep learning, and also provided opportunities to analyze big data held by Toshiba, facilitating acquisition of more practical AI technologies. In this way, the company will more quickly train AI engineers who can promote the use of big data.

Toshiba will begin this program in December and train approximately 100 AI engineers a year. In parallel, Toshiba will train AI engineers through other in-house programs, increasing the number of AI engineers from 750 today to 2,000 by 2022.

By improving the quality and scale of its AI research and development, Toshiba will continue to work toward becoming a world-leading CPS technology company.

Through this collaboration with Tokyo University, which has a record of achievement in advanced AI education, Toshiba’s AI trainees will be able to participate in a cutting-edge AI education program and use big data that Toshiba has accumulated in its manufacturing activities.

By using this education to develop engineers with varied technical expertise and work experience, Toshiba will accelerate its transformation into a world-leading CPS technology company.

Rei Kawakami, Project Lecturer Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Tokyo University, said “I am pleased that our AI educational materials will be directly used in industry, and hope that the knowledge can be transferred in Toshiba's wide range of products and services. We optimized the course to support human resources development at Toshiba. I hope this will lead to growth of current markets as well as innovation of new services.”

Shiro Saito, Executive Officer, Corporate Executive Vice President, Toshiba Corporation, said “In collaboration with Tokyo University, which has obtained knowledge and recorded achievements pertaining to adult education in AI, we were able to apply the Toshiba’s actual data to achieve effective education.”

By using this program to develop engineers with varied technical expertise and work experience, Toshiba will accelerate its transformation into a CPS technology company.”

 

Fig. 1: Increasing the number of IT engineers.

 

Fig. 2: Overview and features of the “Toshiba AI Engineer Program.”

 

Notes:
*1 Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, “Results from a Survey on Latest Trends and Future   Predictions for IT Human Resources,” 10 June 2016
*2 https://www.toshiba.co.jp/rdc/detail/1706_04.htm
     https://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2017_11/pr_j0801.htm
     https://www.toshiba.co.jp/rdc/detail/1907_02.htm
*3 World Intellectual Property Organization’s study
     https://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2019/article_0001.html

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Information in the news releases, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the press announcement, but is subject to change without prior notice.

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