Wednesday, November 13, 2013

IBM opens global research lab in Africa - Kenya


NAIROBI: IBM's 12th global research lab was opened here last week. It is designed to conduct applied and far-reaching exploratory research into the big challenges of the African continent and deliver commercially viable innovations that impact people's lives.

The facility features one of Africa's most powerful computer hubs, giving IBM researchers the ability to analyse and draw insight from vast amounts of data in search for solutions to Africa's challenges such as energy, water, transportation, agriculture, healthcare, financial inclusion, human mobility and public safety.

"The establishment of this research laboratory underpins the government's commitment to innovation ecosystems that are already available in Kenya," said the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta. The lab is supported by the Kenyan ICT Authority.

The lab's research agenda will include the development of cognitive computing technologies that integrate learning and reasoning capabilities, enabling experts to make better decisions in areas such as healthcare delivery and financial services.

"We are currently experiencing the emergence of a new Africa - one where science and technology are enabling a pivotal 'leap frog' moment allowing governments and businesses to drive economic growth, raise the standard of living and compete with their global counterparts," said Kamal Bhattacharya, director, IBM Research-Africa.

"The launch of Africa's first full-scale, technology research facility will help lay the foundation for the continent's future scientific and economic independence," he added. Nicholas Nesbitt, country general manager, East Africa, said it was not just about science and technology, "but also about innovating new business models and partnering with local enterprises to ensure that our new solutions have the maximum impact on business and society."

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