Q. What sort of lab is the Jiro Katto Laboratory?

We’re working on visualization of wireless network quality. Working to develop a navigation tool that will allow users to choose paths of movement that provide optimum communications, we have walked the streets measuring communication speed with Smartphones, made guesses about power consumption based on quantity of calculation processing, and prepared a heat map for use with Google Maps.
Making guesses about power consumption is particularly difficult. For example, base station utilization ratios vary according to time of day and area, and this variation affects communication speed, quantity of data received, and amount of calculation processing. The expression used for prediction therefore includes many variables, and we still have issues to resolve in this area.

Q. How did you become interested in data communication?

I’ve always liked Smartphones. They’ve become so much a part of life that people are always using them for something. So it can be quite a bother when communication is slow. When I was a sophomore in college, I tried measuring communication speed while riding the subway, and discovered that the speed varied according to location. That is what sparked my interest.

Q. What sort of difficulties do you encounter in your research?

I’m not very good at programming! When a program doesn’t work as intended, it can set research back for weeks, so now I am undertaking a joint project with industry on programming for radio processing, I expect this will raise my programming skills.

The importance of not just sitting back, but being an originator of ideas

Q. What do you find attractive about the Katto Lab?

Professor Katto’s laboratory is a place that respects student autonomy.
Also, it provides lots of opportunities to make presentations at academic conferences. During the fourth year as an undergraduate, students going on to the Master’s program also have the opportunity to make a conference presentation, and I took advantage of that opportunity to make a presentation to the Electronic Information Communication Research Association. My presentation to the conference reported the results of instrumental testing of variations in quality of video distributed to moving trains. The audience was mostly industry people, and it was a very stimulating experience!

Q. What other things are you doing in college life besides research?

I was a member of the Waseda Symphony Orchestra, where I play the violin. I’ve studied the violin since I was four years old, but only as a solo artist. Now that I’m in an orchestra, I’m really enjoying playing in harmony with others. The violin is a great source of comfort to me if something gets me down, like when research is not going well! For me, the time I spend with the orchestra is a precious opportunity to get out of the lab and meet with students that are studying all sorts of other things.
I’d like to say that it was a very moving experience to participate in the Orchestra’s European tour, where we received very warm standing ovations from audiences at the Berlin Philharmony, Gewandhaus Leipzig and the Wiener Musikverein.

Q. Could you give us a message for prospective students?

In college, it’s very important to be a self-starter. I think the secret to having a fulfilling college life is to take initiative in talking with people around you and to broaden your range of friendships.

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