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IBM and MIT join forces for new $240m Watson AI lab

IBM and MIT working together on artificial intelligence marks on of the biggest partnerships between a leading tech company and a university to date.

By Tom Ball

Artificial intelligence research is set to be boosted by the launch of a new $240 million IBM Watson lab, with support from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The collaboration between the tech behemoth and MIT is indicative of the importance of harnessing the most formidable talent for the purpose of developing cutting edge technologies such as AI.

Set to span a 10 year period, the partnership will focus on vital use cases for the technology in industries including cybersecurity and healthcare.

While prioritising the development of AI for real world use, the programme is also set to inspire students to apply their skills in setting up new companies and working toward discovering new commercial applications for new technologies.

IBM and MIT join forces for new $240m Watson AI lab

MIT President Dr. L. Rafael Reif, said: “I am thrilled by this new collaboration…True breakthroughs are often the result of fresh thinking inspired by new kinds of research teams. The combined MIT and IBM talent dedicated to this new effort will bring formidable power to a field with staggering potential to improve standards of living everywhere.”

This programme could be beneficial in tackling the widening tech skills gap that threatens the rate of progress that has so far been experienced within the industry. The rapid change is causing an urgent need for more skilled professionals, particularly in areas such as cybersecurity in which analysts are struggling to handle data volumes.

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IBM is making bold strides into other cutting edge technology frontiers including deep learning. The company recently announced new progress in training a deep learning platform after breaking records in both speed and accuracy. This new achievement meant that IBM had surpassed the previous record set by Microsoft.

Automation is also an area keenly worked on by IBM, with the company recently providing technology to the UK bank HSBC. This project used robotics and cognitive to automate the trade finance transaction process.

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