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December 22, 2016

Facebook’s Building 8 partners with 17 universities on tech projects

Building 8 is focused on building new hardware products to advance mission of connecting the world.

By CBR Staff Writer

Facebook’s secretive lab Building 8 has signed a collaboration agreement with 17 universities to accelerate the research cycle for hardware and software.

Building 8, headed by former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency chief and Google executive Regina Dugan, has entered into a Sponsored Academic Research Agreement (SARA).

The 17 initial members of SARA include Rice University, California Institute of Technology, Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

Other members include the University of California at San Francisco, Northeastern, Princeton, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arizona State, the University of Waterloo, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

Regina Dugan heads up Building 8.

Regina Dugan heads up Building 8.

The deal allows Facebook to engage with individual faculty members and labs on joint technology projects in just 30 days instead of the months it often takes for deals to be signed.

In a Facebook post, Dugan wrote that the team of hardware and software experts already has shipped over 1.7 billion consumer devices in 170 countries.

“It’s why we work in partnership with entrepreneurs, engineering teams, system integrators, and businesses large and small – globally. And it’s why we have built partnerships with many of the best research minds in the world.”

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Harvard chief technology development officer and senior associate provost Isaac Kohlberg said:  “Technological advancement poses urgent challenges and opportunities in fields such as computational science, artificial intelligence, privacy, computer vision, augmented and virtual reality, and advanced materials and manufacturing.

“This agreement with Facebook recognizes that the most significant, transformative solutions will be informed by university science.”

Citing a Facebook spokesman, Reuters reported that will pay participating universities will receive payment from declining to specify how much Facebook would pay.

Building 8, which was launched last April, applies DARPA-style breakthrough development at the intersection of science and products.

Facebook has earlier partnered with universities by offering them with servers so they can assist it in investigating artificial intelligence.

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