Research into Artifacts, Center for Engineering (RACE) was founded in 1992, based on a proposal by Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, former President of the University of Tokyo, with the support of the Ministory of Education, Science Sports and Curture.

The motivation of this research program comes from the irrevocable consequeneces on our finite planet of the unexpected interactions between artifacts, consequencs that often lead to unprecedented environmental changes and major accidents. The fact that such artifacts are created by human knowledge implies that we need to carry out fundamental research into such knowledge, and its use for the creation of artifacts, to reduce the likelihood of these unexpected interactions.

In design, an abstract concept is generated initially and subsequently embodied into a physical artifact. The concept is evaluated by the use of the embodied artifact in the real world. The thinking process which leads to the formation of such a concept is called abduction. The objective of RACE is to establish a new discipline for the design, manufacture and use of artifacts, centered around abduction. In pursuit of this objective, RACE continues to carry out multidisciplinary research into the creation, use and systematization of the knowledge which is needed for design.