MIT and IBM are teaming up to build a $240 million AI research lab and business incubator


IBM will invest $240 million to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in a 10-year partnership with the MIT with the goal of propelling scientific breakthroughs that unlock the potential of AI.

Photo: Clockready / Wikimedia Commons.

IBM and MIT announced a new joint research in artificial intelligence (AI) to unlock the potential of AI. IBM will invest $240 million to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in a 10-year partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

The new lab will focus on fundamental artificial intelligence research with the aim to “advance AI hardware, software, and algorithms related to deep learning and other areas; increase AI’s impact on industries, such as health care and cybersecurity; and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society.”

The MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab will be one of the largest long-term university-industry AI collaborations to date, gathering more than 100 AI scientists, professors, and students in this joint research.

The collaboration aims to "push the boundaries in AI science and technology" in the following areas:

  • AI algorithms
  • Physics of AI
  • Application of AI to industries
  • Advancing shared prosperity through AI

In addition, the project also seeks to encourage MIT faculty and students to launch companies to commercialize the inventions and technologies developed in the lab. 

“True breakthroughs are often the result of fresh thinking inspired by new kinds of research teams. The combined MIT and IBM talent dedicated to this new effort will bring formidable power to a field with staggering potential to advance knowledge and help solve important challenges,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif.

Both MIT and IBM have been pioneers in AI research. The MIT claims that the term “artificial intelligence” was coined and popularized by MIT researchers in the 1950s. While IBM has explored the application of AI across many industries for more than 20 years.