IBM commits $240m to AI research lab at MIT


MIT IBM handshake on AI lab

The two announced plans yesterday to create the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab at the Cambridge, Massachusetts university, with a $240m investment over 10 years.

The lab will aim to advance AI hardware, software and algorithms related to deep learning and other AI areas. It will be home to more than 100 AI scientists, professors and students and will be located at IBM’s own research lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, meaning it will be co-located with the IBM Watson Health and IBM Security headquarters.

A statement on the project from MIT said the lab will specifically look to develop understanding of AI in four key areas:

  • AI algorithms – the pair say that they will look to develop “advanced algorithms to expand capabilities in machine learning and reasoning”.
  • Physics of AI – this will involve, MIT said, “investigating new AI hardware materials, devices, and architectures that will support future analog computational approaches to AI model training and deployment, as well as the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning”.
  • Application of AI to industries – the lab will particularly look at the application of AI to the security and privacy of medical data, personalisation of health care, image analysis, and the optimum treatment paths for specific patients
  • Advancing shared prosperity through AI – according to MIT, “the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab will explore how AI can deliver economic and societal benefits to a broader range of people, nations, and enterprises”.

It will also look to support MIT students and academics to launch companies to commercialise AI inventions and technologies that are developed in the lab.

John Kelly, IBM senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and Research (pictured, right, with MIT president Rafael Reif), said: “The field of artificial intelligence has experienced incredible growth and progress over the past decade.

“Yet today’s AI systems, as remarkable as they are, will require new innovations to tackle increasingly difficult real-world problems to improve our work and lives. The extremely broad and deep technical capabilities and talent at MIT and IBM are unmatched, and will lead the field of AI for at least the next decade.”



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