IBM and UK government plug £313m into big data and cognitive computing research

IBM and UK government plug £313m into big data and cognitive computing research on our shores.


IBM has topped up the government’s £113 million commitment to further cognitive computing and big data research with resources valued at £200 million, in a bid to put UK the cutting edge in scientific research and development.

The “technology package” which will support the UK’s Hartree Centre at Daresbury over the next five years will include access to IBM’s Watson supercomputer, 24 researchers who will be based at the centre and a joint commercialisation of intellectual property assets.

David Stokes, Chief Executive for IBM in the UK and Ireland, said: “We’re at the dawn of a new era of cognitive computing, during which advanced data-centric computing models and open innovation approaches will allow technology to greatly augment decision-making capabilities for business and government.”

Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson said that the funding and continued research at Hartree confirmed that “we live in an information economy - from the smart devices we use every day to the super-computers that helped find the Higgs Boson, the power of advanced computing means we now have access to vast amounts of data. 

“This partnership with IBM, which builds on our £113 million investment to expand the Hartree Centre, will help businesses make the best use of big data to develop better products and services that will boost productivity, drive growth and create jobs.” 

The Hartree Centre is run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). It is already helping firms like Unilever and Glaxo SmithKline use high performance computing to understand the link between genetics and diseases and the manufacturing of home products like fabric softeners. 

Professor John Womersley, Chief Executive of STFC, said: “Data intensive techniques are transforming every discipline of science, and connecting these capabilities to the needs of industry has the potential to revolutionise every business sector. 

“The Government’s five-year investment in the Hartree Centre will deliver a step-change in capability in this area, and will bring in significant knowledge and expertise from IBM Research that will help ensure our science and industry remains at the very forefront of research and development.” 

Big Data is one of The Government’s 'Eight Great Technologies' to support UK science strengths and business capabilities.

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