Prof. Makoto Nagao
Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University
Former President, National Diet (Congress) Library, Japan


Prof. Makoto Nagao

“The Age of Content and Knowledge Processing”, Makoto Nagao (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan)

Prof. Makoto Nagao is the President of National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.He was awarded as the twentyfirst Japan Prize Laureate in the field of Information and Media Technology in 2005.His achievement was pioneering contributions to natural language processing and intelligent image processing.His goal is Striving to achieve “Human” information processing
Nationality: Japan
Date of Birth: October 4 1936
Academic Degrees:
• 1959 B. in Engineering, Kyoto University
• 1961 M. in Engineering, Kyoto University
• 1966 Ph.D. in Engineering, Kyoto University

Overview on Prof. Makoto Nagao’s contribution:


Dr. Nagao led the research of machine translation and for the first time in the world, successfully developed a Japanese-to-English and an English-to-Japanese translation systems for abstracts of scientific and technical papers. These systems are still being used practically, and became the foundation for later commercial machine translation systems. Dr. Nagao has also proposed the analogical use of past translation examples in translation process. This example-based translation method has given extensive influence to research and development in this field among many countries.

Phrase-based Memory-based Machine Translation

The goal of machine translation is the translation of a text given in some natural source language into a natural target language. The input can be either a written sentence or a spoken sentence that was recognized by a speech recognition system. At the Chair of Artificial Intelligence and Applied Informatics we apply statistical methods similar to those in speech recognition. Stochastic models describe the structure of the sentences of the target language – the language model – and the dependencies between words of the source and the target language – the translation model. The translation model is decomposed into the lexicon model which determines the translations of the words in the source language and the alignment model forming a mapping between the words in the source language string and the words in the target language string. These models are trained automatically on a corpus of bilingual source/target sentence pairs. In this approach, it is not necessary to manually design rules for the translation or the construction of sentences. A search algorithm determines the target language sentence that has the highest probability given the source language sentence.
Architecture of a Statistical Machine Translation System

The statistical approach to machine translation is particularly suitable for the translation of spontaneous speech, where the translation approach has to cope with colloquial language and speech recognition errors.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a form of human-to-computer interaction where the elements of human language, be it spoken or written, are formalized so that a computer can perform value-adding tasks based on that interaction. Autonomy’s approach differs from standard NLP use in that it is still able to harness the power of Intelligent Data Operating Layer(IDOL) ‘s conceptual analysis.The key benefits of NLP are automatical leverage of human interaction, dynamic learning ability, ability to understand slang, industry specific jargon, contextual nuances,sentiment and topics.Also,NLP is language independent.


In image processing,Dr.Nagao was the first to introduce feedback analysis mechanisms in the analysis and recognition of facial photographs, which had a dramatic effect on many later research activities. He has demonstrated numerous achievements in image processing using methods based on artificial intelligence; for example, he introduced the “blackboard model” for analysis of remote sensing images and other images, and demonstrated that this model could be used to analyze complex images with ambiguous analysis procedures.



In addition to conducting research in various fields, including digital dictionaries, important word extraction, and Japanese morphological analysis, all of which are key elements in natural language processing, Dr. Nagao has proposed methods appropriate to the analysis of long and complex Japanese sentences, and has achieved extensive results in the field of context analysis. These achievements were open to the public as free software’s and have been used by researchers in Japanese language processing worldwide, have contributed dramatically to the research community, and have significantly expanded the scope of Japanese language processing research. He developed “Ariadne,” one of the earliest digital library prototype systems and opened it actually. From early on, he has emphasized the importance of digital libraries that incorporate not only language information but image and audio information as well, and has contributed to the new digital library era.


Natural language processing, machine translation, and intelligent image processing play Key Technology in our Information and Communications Technology society. Dr. Nagao has pioneered these fields, and has been a leader in this research both in Japan and overseas, through the establishment of the International Association for Machine Translation and The Association for Natural Language Processing. In today’s society, where information and communication networks have expanded and become increasingly global, we feel that Dr. Nagao’s contributions are extremely significant in terms of promoting international understanding and information sharing on a global scale that Dr. Nagao deserves the 2005 Japan Prize.


Professional Career:

• 1961 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University
• 1967 Lecture, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University
• 1968 Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University
• 1969-70 Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Informatics Grenoble University
• 1973 Professor, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University
• 1986-90 Director, Data Processing Center, Kyoto University
• 1995-97 Director, University Library, Kyoto University
• 1997 Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University
• 1997-03 President, Kyoto University
• 2001-03 President, The Japan Association of National Universities
• 2004-Present President, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Incorporated Administrative Agency, Japan

Major Publications:
(Books in English)

• Nagao, M., Matsuyama, T. (1980) A Structural Analysis of Complex Aerial Photographs, Plenum Pub Corp. (co-authored)
• Nagao, M. (1989) Machine Translation: How Far Can it Go? Oxford University Press
• Nagao, M. (1990) Knowledge and Inference, Academic Press

(Books in Japanese)

• Engineering for Pattern Recognition and Language Understanding. Corona Publishing Co., Ltd. (1989)
• Artificial Intelligence and Human, Iwanami Shoten (1992)
• Digital Library, Iwanami Shoten (1994)
• Natural Language Processing, Iwanami Shoten (co-authored) (1996)
• What is “Understanding”, Iwanami Shoten (2001)

Major Awards Received:

• IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award (1993)
• Culture Prize, ” Bunka-shou” honored by Kyoto Shimbun (1994)
• Distinguished Achievement and Contributions Award (IEICE) (1997)
• IPSJ Contributions Award (1997)
• Medal of Honor (IAMT) (1997)
• Purple Ribbon Medal honored by Japan Government (1997)
• JSAI Achievement Award (1998)
• NHK Broadcast Cultural Award (1998)
• Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science, The University of Nottingham (1999)
• C&C Prize (1999)
• Memorial Award, “Takayanagi Kinen-shou” (2000)
• Lifetime Achievement Award, Association for Computational Linguistics (2003)

Membership in Academic Institutions and Societies:

• President, Japanese Cognitive Science Society (1988-90)
• President, International Association for Machine Translation (IAMT) (1991-93)
• President, Asia-Pacific Association for Machine Translation (AAMT) (1992-96)
• President, The Association for National Language Processing (NLP) (1994-96)
• President, The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE) (1998-99)
• President, Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ) (1999-00)
• IEEE Fellow (1999)
• Member of Science Council of Japan (18th Term) (2000-03)
• President, Japan Library Association (2002-Present)

Submitted by: ANJANA.R.KUMAR
Roll No: 6
Date of submission:27/03/2013