IBM Signs 10-Year Research Partnership for AI with MIT

IBM and MIT reached an agreement on a 10-year partnership worth $240 million that will establish the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab to be located at the Cambridge, Massachusetts campus of MIT just outside Boston on the Charles River.

The lab is to be co-chaired by Anantha Chandrakasan the Dean of the School of Engineering at MIT and Dario Gil, the Research VP of AI at IBM.

Big Blue will invest $240 million in the lab, were researchers from IBM and faculty and students from MIT will work together to carry out advanced research on artificial intelligence.

As far as what happens with the IP the partnership produces, that remained somewhat blurry from both sides.

However, here is what is known. MIT is planning to publish papers that are related to this research, while both parties are planning to open source much of the code. Some IP will be inside IBM products and services. The school is hoping to generate AI-based startups through the deal as well.

IBM’s Gil said that the core mission for the lab is bring together IBM researchers and MIT scientists to shape AI’s future and to push the frontiers of science.

Therefore, the two parties are planning to send out requests to scientists at IBM and the student community of MIT to submit their ideas for research. To keep the focus narrow on what could become a broad endeavor, a number of principles have been established to guide research.

Those include developing of AI algorithms with a goal of going beyond specific apps for neural-based deep learning and finding ways that are more generalized to solve the complex problems of enterprise.

In addition, they are hoping to harness machine learning power with quantum computing, which is an area IBM is working diligently to develop at this time. There is great potential with AI to be a driver in development of quantum computing and conversely quantum computing and the power computing it brings to drive AI development.

With the Watson Healthcare and Security divisions of IBM located in Kendall Square just down the street, the two parties agreed to concentrate on the two industry verticals for their work.

The two partners are planning to work at one to help understand the economic and social impact that AI has in society, which as has been seen is already proven to be quite considerable.

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