TOKYO, Japan - June 26, 2020 – Hiroki Hiraguchi, a researcher in the Sensing AI Research Department, at Ricoh, won a Gold Medal in the "Abstraction and Reasoning Challenge" competition from Kaggle, the world's largest and most diverse online community of data scientists and machine learning practitioners.
Kaggle started running competitions online on machine learning in 2010 and today has expanded these to a variety of subjects that use AI technologies to analyze and model issues. These include solving challenges using real data provided by companies and others, and competing for predictive accuracy. Many engineers and researchers from around the world participate in these competitions free of charge via the Internet.
This competition was aimed at predicting what image processing was used based on a pair of images that were before and after processing, such as rotating, enlarging, and moving. While there were some teams made-up of several participants that could work on the challenge together, Mr. Hiraguchi tackled the issue alone and won a Gold Medal. He ranked 11th out of 914 teams, with medals awarded to only the top 10% of all the participating teams. In response to the difficult challenge that needed more human-like skills, such as abstraction and reasoning, Mr. Hiraguchi made use of his knowledge of image processing and AI, which he had developed at work. He focused on the process of image recognition by humans, and devised ways to give AI as many image processing patterns as possible. This led to him winning the prize.
Ricoh is shifting its strategy from being an OA (Office Automation) manufacturer to be a digital service company. AI technology along with 5G technology is positioned as the most important technology for future growth. In 2017, Ricoh established the Applied AI Research & Development Center, which has been working to incorporate AI into products and applying AI to internal business process transformation. In October 2018, we launched a school for data science, which aims to nurture our high-level data scientists and promote the use of data in the field. Just like Mr. Hiraguchi, participants in the school are working to enhance data analysis and AI technology through competitions such as those on Kaggle. Ricoh will continue to develop AI technology in order to deliver high-quality digital services to its customers.