Waseda Frontline Research Vol.18: Combating Unknown Threats and Hardware Trojans (Part 4 of 4)

Nozomu Togawa, Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Specialization: IoT, information and communications technology

Part 4: Be the Best in the World, No Matter What You Do

In this final part, Professor Togawa discusses his overall thoughts and motto on research, as well as his overall impression of and expectations for Waseda University students. His keywords for this discussion are “quick and swift” and “best in the world.” (Interview date: September 7, 2017)

Be the First to Do Anything

Photo: Professor Togawa has held onto his convictions since his student days

The first microcomputers became available to the general public around 1980. These were the antecedents of the personal computers we use today. I was an elementary school student at that time, who was very interested in these microcomputers. I had always liked scrounging together parts and components of computer from component stores to build one, but running from store to store looking for necessary parts or broken components took a lot of work. I realized at that time that, if you could program something with a computer, you could really make whatever you wanted. You could then change your code and change what you made. This really captivated me.

Even after entering the School of Science and Engineering, Electronic/Information Communication Department at Waseda University, I continued to use computers to program and play my own games. I entered the department because I realized I could do these kinds of things. I really had a great time. Since that time, I have always believed in being the first to do something that no one else is doing and in being the best in the world despite how insignificant it may be, perhaps because I like being number one or at the top no matter what. Of course, the world is a big place, and there may be someone out there who has already done what I have before me or better than I did. However, as I kept discovering new interests and goals, I found more research topics that I wanted to pursue. By the time I finished the first year of my master’s course in graduate school, I decided that I would go onto pursue my doctorate. My research topics continued to expand around the second year of my doctoral course, and I found myself wanting to continue doing research at university. Ultimately, I chose the path of academia.

Projects Selected by Government Organizations and Universities

An example of me and my team being the first in doing something before anyone else is our system to detect hardware Trojans (which was covered in Part 1). I believe we were the first in the world to build such a system at the time in 2015. I also believe that we are one of the few teams in the world researching technology that uses artificial intelligence to detect hardware Trojans. In recognition of our research, we were selected for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Programme (SCOPE) from 2014 to 2016 for our research on the topic of “Research & Development on Technology to Detect Hardware Trojans Inserted into Design Processes and on Technology to Design Protections Against Hardware Trojans.” Following that, we were selected from 2017 to 2018 on the topic of “Research & Development on Technology to Provide Cross-Layer Security for IoT Parts, Devices, and Networks.” We were also selected in 2017 for the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) “New Energy/Environment Technology Leadership Program” for our research on the topic of “Research & Development of a Distributed Foundation Architecture for Highly Reliable IoT Societies.” Thanks to these recognitions, we feel that our research is on the vanguard and that society recognizes our results.

The Togawa IoT Integrated System Project was also selected for the Core Researchers of Next Generation, a program run by Waseda University to support researchers. Compared to other research fields, the information field tends to be perceived as one where research can be continued from few research resources. However, we believe that we were chosen from the information related field thanks to the decisive judgment of the university. This just reaffirmed our will to continue trying.

Proactive Students

It was also thanks to the efforts of the students working in my laboratory that we were able to receive recognition for our research accomplishments. People ask me how I treat my students. I tell them simply that we do research together. Of course, I do teach my students. But I also learn a lot from them. Everyone takes the lead during research, and there is a definite atmosphere of everyone working together on the same research topic.

Photo: Professor Togawa works closely with students every day

If I were to describe the characteristics or tendencies of Waseda University students, I would say that they take initiative and see things to the end, no matter what. From my perspective as a member of the faculty, I see Waseda University students as trusted people who I can do research with. From the University’s perspective, I think they are valuable assets. Moreover, I want to stress the fact that there are many such students here. Engineering requires some degree of manpower, and some research requires a lot of brilliant people. I feel that the research achievements we have accomplished together with these brilliant students are the number one reason why Waseda’s science and technology departments are highly recognized and valued by society.

[caption id="attachment_55617" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Photo: Awards received by students in the laboratory are crammed together in the corner of the laboratory

Aiming for the Top Research Accomplishments in the World

I spoke earlier about being the first to do things and about being the best in the world. I wish all students would give this a chance. Now that they are doing research, I want them to become the best in the world, for them to take the top spot. It does not matter how small the field or accomplishment is. I want students to aim for the top in whatever area they are working. Combining number one or top research achievements in each field can lead to major research accomplishments that lead the entire world.

☞Click here for Part 1
☞Click here for Part 2
☞Click here for Part 3


Nozomu Togawa
Professor Togawa completed the Electrical Engineering Doctoral Course at the Waseda University Graduate School of Science and Engineering in 1997 (Doctor of Engineering). He has worked as a research associate in the School of Science and Engineering, Electronic/Information Communication Department, Waseda University; an assistant professor in the Faculty of Environmental Engineering, University of Kitakyushu; and an associate professor in the School of Fundamental Science and Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Waseda University. Since 2009, he has worked as a professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering (School of Fundamental Science and Engineering) at Waseda University. He specializes in integrated circuit design, and related applied technologies and security technologies. He has been the recipient of many awards, including The Telecommunications Advancement Foundation’s Telecom System Technology Award (2011). For details, visit the Togawa Laboratory

Major Achievements


Honors and Awards
1994 Student Paper Award, The Telecommuncations Advancement Foundation
1995 Best Paper Award, IEEE Asia and South Pacific Design Automation Conference
1995 Isao Okawa Memorial Achievement Award, Waseda University
1995 Azusa Ono Memorial Award, Waseda University
1996 Honorable Mention at the Circuit and Systems Workshop in Karuizawa, Nagano, JP, The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers
1996 Ando Incentive Prize for the Study of Electronics, The Foundation of Ando Laboratory
1997 Yasujiro Niwa Outstanding Paper Award
2001 Takeda Techno-Entrepreneurship Award, The Takeda Foundation
2009 Honorable Mention from the Marubun Research Promotion Foundation
2009 Funai Academic Award, Funai Foundation for Information Technology
2010 Telecommunications System Technology Award, The Telecommunications Advancement Foundation

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