IBM puts $240m into MIT and a 10 year AI research facility

IBM plans to invest $240 million in the construction of a new artificial intelligence research laboratory that the company will operate in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The investment in the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab will support more than 100 scientists, professors and students in pursuing joint research at IBM’s research lab in Cambridge in the U.S. state of MA and on the neighbouring MIT campus, IBM said in a statement.

These include advanced AI algorithms to expand capabilities in machine learning and reasoning, studying the intersection between machine learning and quantum computing, new applications for AI in healthcare and cybersecurity as well as the economic and societal implications of AI to “advance shared prosperity”.

The AI lab will be co-chaired by Anatha Chandrakasan, dean of MIT’s School of Engineering, and Dario Gil, vice president of AI at IBM Research.

The report also noted that IBM researchers have yet to publish any scientific papers about clinical outcomes based on the technology. “Yet today’s AI systems, as remarkable as they are, will require new innovations to tackle increasingly hard real-world problems to improve our work and lives”.

IBM also said the partnership is meant to exploit the intersection between machine learning and quantum computing, including new quantum devices and using quantum machines as another way to accelerate machine-learning algorithms.

It’s not the first time MIT and IBM have worked together.

“True breakthroughs are often the result of fresh thinking inspired by new kinds of research teams”, MIT President Rafael Reif said in the announcement.

It was not clear how many of those people would be new hires, but IBM said it would bring in additional staff to work on the project. “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”.

The collaboration seeks to improve the performance of artificial intelligence projects, improving the algorithms that make them work, examining the physical materials that support their hardware, and looking for new ways to apply the technology to industry.

MIT researchers were among those who helped coin and popularize the very phrase “artificial intelligence” in the 1950s. It will draw upon about 100 researchers from IBM (ibm) itself and the university.

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