IBM to Invest $240 Million in MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab

In health care, the collaboration will explore the use of AI in areas such as the security and privacy of medical data, personalization of health care, image analysis, and the optimal treatment paths for specific patients.

IBM announced that it plans to make a 10-year, $240 million investment to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in partnership with MIT, explaining that the lab will carry out fundamental artificial intelligence (AI) research and seek to propel scientific breakthroughs and to increase AI's impact on industries such as health care and cybersecurity. The investment will support research by IBM and MIT scientists, they announced Sept. 7.

The new lab "will be one of the largest long-term university-industry AI collaborations to date, mobilizing the talent of more than 100 AI scientists, professors, and students to pursue joint research at IBM's Research Lab in Cambridge—co-located with the IBM Watson Health and IBM Security headquarters in Kendall Square, in Cambridge, Massachusetts—and on the neighboring MIT campus," they said.

The lab's co-chairs are IBM Research VP of AI and IBM Q Dario Gil, and Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of MIT's School of Engineering. The organizations will issue a call for proposals to MIT researchers and IBM scientists to submit their ideas for joint research to push the boundaries in AI science and technology in several areas. In health care, the collaboration will explore the use of AI in areas such as the security and privacy of medical data, personalization of health care, image analysis, and the optimal treatment paths for specific patients.

"The field of artificial intelligence has experienced incredible growth and progress over the past decade. Yet today’s AI systems, as remarkable as they are, will require new innovations to tackle increasingly difficult real-world problems to improve our work and lives," said Dr. John Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and Research. "The extremely broad and deep technical capabilities and talent at MIT and IBM are unmatched and will lead the field of AI for at least the next decade."

Gil wrote in a blog post that, "Together with our fellow scientists at MIT, we selected four key pillars for our collaboration: core algorithmic advancements that enable learning and reasoning to broaden what AI systems can do, computational innovations tailored to AI and achieved through a mastery of physics, applications of AI to important domains like healthcare and cybersecurity, and achieving shared prosperity through AI technology. Each one of these areas touches upon our fundamental beliefs about the future of AI and where we believe it can and should go. And all four leverage technical strengths shared across MIT and IBM."

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