IBM Canada, the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador have announced an investment of more than C$18 million to strengthen research and innovation in the province through two new initiatives: the Centre for Analytics, Informatics and Research (CAIR) and the Accelerated Analytics and Machine Learning (AAML) project, which will both be housed at Memorial University.
Memorial will receive the over C$18-million investment from the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, as jurisdictional partners, and private-sector partner IBM, extending a partnership that began in 2014.
This includes a C$16-million in-kind investment of hardware, software and staffing from IBM over four years. IBM will provide free development and cloud credits to new entrepreneurs and startup companies through the Startup with IBM program.
ACOA is providing C$1.4 million towards the two initiatives, and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will contribute C$1.35 million.
“Industry has made it clear that as our innovation economy grows, there is a greater need for more highly qualified people or talent. This collaboration will provide access to high performance computing within our province, allowing for even more opportunities for researchers, industry partnerships and the start-up community to meet the growing needs of our tech sector,” said Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The two initiatives will focus on innovation and research in fields like data science and astrophysics, genetic analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, image analysis and scientific computing, and will be led by Memorial.
CAIR will be equipped with powerful high-performance computers able to process huge amounts of complex data, leading to faster insights for projects such as AAML. The hardware at CAIR will be used by Department of Computer Science faculty and students at Memorial, to undertake research in many key areas like image processing, artificial intelligence and deep learning.
Working with Memorial, IBM will also help drive further economic development in the province by supporting skills growth via the IBM SkillsBuild program, a digital training program that helps learners develop new skills and find jobs. SkillsBuild provides learners with professional workplace readiness and technical skills and enables them to earn digital badges recognized by the market.
“Ongoing collaborations with our government and industry partners allow Memorial to meet the challenges and opportunities of our province and beyond,” said. Dr. Vianne Timmons, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University. “These significant investments will further enhance Memorial’s capacity in strategic areas, provide world-class scientific training opportunities for faculty and graduate students and allow Memorial to continue supporting the tremendous growth of the local technology industry.”