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Message for students 2024:Shoma Tateno

January 30, 2024

Pursuing research in a different field and achieving results as a second-year employee

Researcher, Advanced Network Research Laboratories
Shoma Tateno

NEC researcher Shoma Tateno, who majored in physics at university, belongs to the spintronics laboratory conducting basic and applied research focused on the microscopic magnetic properties of electrons in materials. He has presented his work at an international conference and had it published in an international journal. Tateno joined NEC after completing his master's degree, and has been engaged in optical communications research. In his first year, Tateno worked on research related to the system design of optical submarine cables. Since his second year, he has been conducting research related to digital signal processing.

Deciding to join NEC, where researchers in a wide range of areas are active

I am currently doing research on digital signal processing for optical communications. I studied physics of solid state at university. I originally wanted to pursue research in an area with a high degree of applicability, rather than purely theoretical research. That is why I chose solid state physics, which is closely linked to device applications. However, when I was working on my master's degree, I suddenly became infatuated with research activity. Through my research in spintronics, I ended up being the lead author of three research papers published in international journals, such as Physical Review Applied and Physical Review B. That experience made me think I wanted to work in a place where I could do more research while also creating applications that would be useful to society, so I ultimately chose NEC's laboratories.
When I visited NEC during my job search, I was impressed by the variety of backgrounds of the people. I learned that many researchers from different fields are active in areas such as biometric authentication and communications, which are two of NEC's specialties, and that many of them made significant achievements within a few years of joining the company. I remember thinking that I would probably pursue research in a different field if I joined NEC, but that I would be able to play an active role with my background in physics.
I was not particularly concerned about changing my field of research. I only had two or three years of research, which is not a whole lot. I felt it might be more interesting to do something new, and I thought it would be good to find an area that had some overlap with physics, where I could utilize my knowledge. As a result, I chose the field of communications research. Since there are aspects of communications that involve physics, I thought my background in physics might be useful.

Giving a presentation at an international conference as a second-year employee

After joining NEC, I caught up on the research in the communications area by reading reference documents and research papers that my seniors told me about. As a result of delving deep into subjects that interested me, I got the opportunity to deliver an oral presentation at the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC), one of the top two international conferences in the field of optical communications, in my second year at NEC. The research was also published in the Journal of Lightwave Technology, a top academic journal. In Japan, I also won the Young Researcher's Award presented by the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers (IEICE). I was able to achieve these honors in a surprisingly short time, simply by following my own interests. I think I have been really lucky. Also, my supervisor and team both have given me a lot of discretion and let me do as I please. Being able to pursue research in areas that interest me has been tremendous.
Communications technology involves physical phenomena such as light and electromagnetism. Knowledge of communications is required, of course, but the field also encompasses many other disciplines. This makes it relatively easy to get involved, even for those with a background in physics or other areas. NEC has been a leading vendor in the submarine cable system business for more than 50 years and is also aiming to lead the world in the 5G and 6G fields. I think pursuing communications research at NEC is interesting even for those majoring in physics or other fields.

Achieving innovation through collaboration with business units

One of the advantages of conducting communications research at NEC is that there are large business units within the company, and we can work closely with them to advance our research. For researchers, it is of course important to follow the latest research trends in academia, but that alone is not enough to create truly useful technologies. For example, actual implementation is only possible if practical problems such as power consumption and communication latency can be overcome. At NEC, we can adjust the direction of our research by continuously coordinating with the business units, which have an abundance of know-how. This enables us to efficiently develop technologies that are actually useful in society. You could say that the business units give us a great advantage in quickly delivering innovative technology to society.
I think one of the great appeals of working as a researcher is that if you produce results, people outside the company will also appreciate them. When I gave the presentation at the conference, the most exciting moment for me was hearing people from other companies, universities, and research institutes praise the technology, and being able to have discussions with them about it. In the future, I would like to continue incorporating knowledge from a wide variety of academia and NEC's business units, and create technologies that will have an impact on society.

  • The information posted on this website is the information at the time of publication.

A day at work

Message to my past self in my school days

Private column

I used to play baseball from elementary school to university, and still enjoy playing on weekends with my friends from back then. I also like to watch my favorite teams play, either live in person or at home on TV. I am also physically active, so I go to the gym 4 to 5 days a week, on weekdays after work and on my days off. I have been doing this for about three years, and I am afraid that if I stop now, my investment will be wasted [laughs].