The Discovery Accelerator will allow college students and industry researchers to work on complex global solutions with AI, quantum technology, and cloud computing.
The state of Illinois has invested nearly $ 1 billion in educational initiatives around emerging technology in recent years. The latest $ 200 million effort, a collaboration between the University of Illinois and IBM, promises to drive innovation and increase the skills of the workforce far beyond its borders.
Grainger College of Engineering, along with the state and business services company, plan to launch a Discovery Accelerator Institute on the Urbana-Champaign campus, a ten-year research project that they say will focus on solving global challenges in four main areas: hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence, quantum technology, accelerated discovery of materials, and sustainability.
The aim is to bring together two areas of specialization: higher education and industry, to provoke new ideas and forge solutions that may be responsible for the technological difference.
“This IBM investment will not only elevate a world-class educational institution, but will also invite national and international scientists, entrepreneurs, businesses and innovators to Illinois,” said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. “Set up our state to become a serious leader in the technology industry on the international stage.”
Illinois students and IBM researchers will work together to create a more adaptable and foolproof AI-based global cloud infrastructure, overcoming the limits of quantum computing. The collaboration will offer both STEM learning and experiential opportunities for students.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the new partnership model we’re building with the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign,” said Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM. “We bring together some of the brightest minds in the industry and academia. I look forward to seeing the innovative research and solutions that the teams will be pioneering, from the discovery of new materials to carbon capture. ”
Within the Institute
More than just a space to develop new technologies and conduct research, the Institute promises to be a pipeline to help stimulate employment growth in the state through a diverse set of workers, students and skills.
“This new collaboration builds on the founding success of the IBM-Illinois Center for Cognitive Computing Systems Research (C3SR) since 2016,” said Rashid Bashir, dean of Grainger College of Engineering. “New collaborations between IBM researchers and Illinois faculty will allow for a faster translation of innovation into society.”
This innovation includes four specific areas that both teams say they will focus on:
- Innovations in hybrid cloud and AI. Looking for ways to expand cutting-edge computing and security in cloud-based environments, leaders say access to “cured data and processing power from multiple distributed data centers and workloads will be key.” “. Therefore, Illinois students and IBM researchers will study data protection through open source and AI innovations.
- Quantum technology. In addition to fostering the development of potential software and hardware, the two will create curricula and programs that create and foster a diverse and talented set of next-generation researchers and workers. IBM will rely on its strengths in quantum computing, while Illinois will rely on its experience around computer science, physics and engineering.
- Discovery of new materials. Teams will not only use AI and computing to try to produce energy-saving and cost-effective materials, but also how “AI can enable new, accelerated and autonomous discovery of molecular materials”.
- Ensure sustainability. One of the global solutions that the teams plan to address is climate change and the impact of carbon. “Researchers will explore technologies to create a sustainable hybrid cloud and climate-smart supply chains and accelerate the discovery of new materials for CO2 capture and conversion,” according to the University of Illinois.
“This institute with IBM is a pioneering new model of how we can develop academic and research collaboration in technology and innovation to unparalleled excellence and scale,” said Robert J. Jones, rector of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. “What excites us most is imagining the exponentially expanded possibilities in these new emerging fields that will define the 21st century.”