FY 2022-2026 MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A)Inauguration of a new research area entitled
“Photonic Computing Highlighting Ultimate Nature of Light”

Tetsuya Kawanishi
Head Investigator,
Faculty of Science and Technology,
School of Fundamental Science and Engineering,
Waseda University

Tetsuya Kawanishi

Former Head Investigator (~September 2023),
Former Professor at the University of Tokyo


The principal concept of this research area is "Ultimate Nature of Light". This concept has three indications. (1) How to utilize the physical limit of light for computing. (2) Cultivating further potential capability of photons for computing. (3) How to overcome architectural limit that prevents the successful utilization of photons for computing. This concept aims further expand and enhance photonic computing research while emphasizing the unique physical attribute of photons and developing original perspectives and insights. In the meantime, the concept reflects the leadership of recent related works in mechanisms, devices, and architectures of photonic computing research conducted in Japan.

In order to promote such research, it is necessary to open up new perspectives, ideas, and technologies and promote interdisciplinary collaboration in photonic computing research without being bound by existing research. Indeed, photonic computing has advanced through the interplays of versatile scientific disciplines ranging from physics, devices, mechanisms, architectures, algorithms, and applications. We plan to promote research with a particular emphasis on collaboration among researchers.

Although research on optical computing was very active in the 1980s, it has been said that the research at that time declined rapidly. However, the research frontier nowadays appreciates the ideas and approaches of the research conducted in the 1980s. Indeed, the papers in the 1980s have been cited many times these days, after 40 years. Today's development of photonic computing would not have been possible without the efforts of our predecessors. Such a historical view strongly suggests the critical importance of thoroughly pursuing the possibility of photonic computing by examining the ultimate nature of light.

For the development of this research area, the cooperation of a wide variety of researchers who participate in both planned and open research is indispensable. In particular, we hope that researchers from various science, engineering, and informatics will participate in the open call for research and that the research field of "photonic computing" and "photon and information" will be widely developed and shared in Japan. We also plan to conduct various outreach activities such as open seminars and schools, as well as symposia and workshops involving cutting-edge researchers from other countries.

We look forward to your support for the development of this research area.