Novel AI solutions expected from new Hebrew U, Technion partnership with IBM

The joint venture was announced at an event commemorating the 50 year anniversary of IBM's Israel-based Research Lab.

 The IBM logo is seen outside the company's offices in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv October 24, 2011. (photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS)
The IBM logo is seen outside the company's offices in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv October 24, 2011.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS)

The history of Israel and artificial intelligence is long and storied and gaining a new chapter. Last week, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem signed a partnership agreement with IBM Research to advance artificial-intelligence capabilities and applications in Israel.

Once the stuff of science fiction, AI has wormed its way into seemingly every business and industry imaginable. Israel has become one of the world’s hotbeds for AI development, and it has certainly paid off. It’s safe to say that AI is gradually dominating the Israeli business sector.

While it’s doing fine as is, there is still a lot of untapped potential for the remarkable technology. As such, IBM Research has seen fit to collaborate with the Technion and Hebrew University in order to continue discovering its potential.

“The Israeli hi-tech industry is receiving a significant boost to its continued success,” said Dr. Aya Soffer, vice president of AI technologies and director of IBM Research. “The collaboration with the Technion and Hebrew University will give rise to groundbreaking research aimed at leveraging artificial intelligence and improving our lives. I am proud that IBM Research has decided to invest in this important undertaking that we have initiated here in Israel.”

Under the terms of the three-year agreement, research will be conducted to search for new solutions in AI in the following three areas: natural language processing, accelerating discoveries for new drugs, and multi-cloud computing to support decentralized AI computation. IBM will fund these studies, which will be carried out by doctoral students at the Technion and Hebrew University.

Artificial intelligence (credit: PIXABAY/WIKIMEDIA)Artificial intelligence (credit: PIXABAY/WIKIMEDIA)

“The combination of IBM, one of the world’s leading technological companies, and our top-notch researchers offers an optimal edge to the knowledge and computing revolutions,” said Prof. Asher Cohen, president of Hebrew University. “With growing demand for experts who specialize in machine learning, algorithms, and computer science, the relationship with IBM, even from the earliest stages of research, will lead to outstanding breakthroughs in both science and medicine.”

Joint venture announced 50 years after IBM Research Lab established

The Israel-based IBM Research Lab was established 50 years ago, and a conference was hosted by IBM Israel in Tel Aviv in order to commemorate the milestone. It was at this event that the two companies announced their joint venture.

Prof. Koby Rubinstein, executive vice president for research at the Technion, noted that the university has long been a collaborator with IBM Research, with great results.

“The Technion and the IBM Research Lab in Israel have had a very close relationship for years, ever since the lab was founded,” Rubinstein said. “In recent years, the Technion has been home to a wide range of intensive research activity in AI. This partnership with IBM, which will be led by researchers in the field, will have a multiplier effect on AI research and development.”