With the demands of AI, hybrid cloud, and quantum computing expanding daily, IBM joins an initiative to build a Discovery Accelerator Institute at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana to drive new research and innovation in some of the fields of study growing faster.
The collaboration also includes the State of Illinois in which a $ 200 million ten-year initiative is planned to erect a building and facilities for the new institute, as well as increase access to education. technology and the development of skills in school.
The IBM-Illinois Discovery Accelerator Institute, which will be part of the school’s Grainger College of Engineering, will also focus on other emerging technologies, such as materials discovery and sustainability.
The exact amounts of funding from IBM, the university and the state are not disclosed. The $ 200 million in investments will be used for both building construction and research, hiring additional faculty and related needs.
“We collaborate with universities on a fairly regular basis, but we don’t [often] to this size, “which is larger than usual, Jeff Welser, IBM Research’s chief operating officer, told EnterpriseAI. Collaborations on university projects typically involve several hundred thousand dollars in a million dollars a year, Welser said.
“When we make these partnerships bigger, it’s when the big partners want to get some skin in the game” in terms of believing in the same technology areas where research and growth is needed, he said. “There is a lot of research that needs to be done on hybrid cloud AI, so there is integration, especially for companies. We believe that having hybrid cloud-related AI is important to their businesses.”
The last major university collaboration involving IBM Research came in 2017 when the company submitted a $ 240 million 10-year investment to create the MIT-IBM Watson Lab at MIT for fundamental research at the AI, according to Welser.
IBM is publicly involved in these projects, especially when there are opportunities to feed and drive open source projects and innovations, in addition to actively publishing research, he said. “It’s about building the ecosystem,” Welser said. “These are important areas of research. We want to amplify it. “
The company has been involved with the university for the past four or five years through a smaller AI-focused research center, so partners have maintained a permanent relationship, Welser said.
Recently, additional discussions took place with engineering school dean Rashid Bashir on hybrid cloud research, AI, quantum computing and more, which are topics in which IBM is also heavily involved, Welser said. .
“We started talking about the idea of creating an accelerator that combined AI, hybrid cloud and quantum,” he said. [Bashir] I was quite excited about this idea. “
It all started to come together because the university also participated in such discussions with the state of Illinois, which also provides funding for infrastructure and other components of the project.
IBM will bring in money and IBM people who will go to college and work directly with staff and students on these issues, Welser said. “Similarly, we expect some of the postdoctoral faculty and students to also go to IBM, such as visiting students.”
Bashir, the dean of the engineering school, told EnterpriseAI that the latest collaboration with IBM is based on the fundamental success of a 2016 IBM-Illinois Center for Cognitive Computing Systems Research (C3SR) partnership .
“This will expand our capabilities for research in AI, quantum and other areas,” Bashir said. The new building that will house the next institute is probably a couple of years from being built on campus, he said.
The university has departments of computer science and electrical and computer engineering that are among the top five in the country, as well as a long-standing coordinated scientific laboratory and a National Center for Supercomputing Applications.
“There’s a lot of experience here,” he said
Last August, the university was selected as a site for an National Science Foundation Art Institute and for an AI research institute of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to drive intelligent research. artificial intelligence of the NSF and expand AI research in agriculture and food processing.
Bashir said work on the new research center and other parts of the project will begin this fall. The 50,000-student campus includes about 11,000 engineering students and about 4,000 computer science students.
“These technologies will change the future,” he said. “We want to be at the forefront of that with a world leader like IBM and have that impact.”
In addition to its artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud and quantum work, the institute planned at the university will also focus on initiatives to increase access to STEM education and the development of the workforce. high-tech, while expanding IBM’s research capacity and the university by bringing together industry students, faculty, and researchers on IBM’s campus and facilities.
Research on clouds and hybrid intelligence, which will focus on data protection and isolation, will explore how open source innovation and artificial intelligence can be combined to drive the next era of cloud computing, as well as defining the skills and training of the workforce to execute increasingly powerful and critical workloads. Quantum work will include systems, architectures, materials, and algorithms, as well as a multi-node quantum test bench where researchers will be able to explore distributed quantum processing and quantum networks, according to IBM.
Upcoming materials discovery research will use AI technologies to investigate potential new materials for applications such as affordable and sustainable power generation and storage, as well as environmentally friendly electronics and transportation materials. Sustainability research will focus on solving climate challenges through carbon accounting, capture, use and sequestration, according to IBM.
In March, IBM announced a ten-year partnership with the centennial Cleveland Clinic to strengthen the clinic’s research capabilities by integrating a wide range of advanced IBM technologies into AI, quantum computing, and the cloud. The collaboration was driven by the need for faster life and health research, especially in the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative includes a new Discovery Center being created on the clinic’s campus in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, IBM will install at the facility what it will call its first private sector local quantum computing system in the United States, along with key technologies for artificial intelligence and cloud computing of its product lines. ‘IBM. And in the future, after IBM has developed a more powerful, more advanced, next-generation quantum system of more than 1,000 qubits in the coming years, the Clinic will also get this machine for its research.
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AI, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, Discovery Accelerator Institute, Grainger College of Engineering, Hybrid Cloud, IBM, IBM Research, IBM-Illinois Discovery Accelerator Institute, materials discovery, quantum computing, sustainability, University of Illinois at Champaign -Urban