Inside Hitachi

At a hushed laboratory overlooking the Pacific, Akira Doi is spending another autumn evening at work. Disk drives whir, and complex computer simulations flash across brilliant workstation screens. But despite the high-tech ambience, the director of Hitachi Ltd.'s Energy Research Lab is contemplating trains. Japan boasts the world's most efficient rail system, with 700 sleek Shinkansen bullet trains racing each day among 64 stations up and down Japan's spine. But that's not good enough for the indefatigable Doi and his team. They're dreaming up a new train--if you could call it a train--that makes the Shinkansen seem more like a steam engine. Swapping ideas over a high-speed computer network with engineers at a half-dozen other Hitachi labs, they're pooling knowledge in chips, advanced materials, superconductivity, and software.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.