IBM to launch AI research center in Brazil

The facility will be the first Latin American institution of the AI Horizons Network and will receive a $20 million investment.

IBM is set to launch a research center in the Brazilian city of São Paulo focused on development of solutions around artificial intelligence.

The AI center will be the first Latin American institution of IBM's AI Horizons Network. It will be jointly run by the company and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to pursue "a disruptive research program", with the potential to "promote paradigm shifts in AI."

The mission for the center will be to create deeper knowledge around the technology and to develop applications that can be of benefit to the industry. Sectors that will potentially benefit from the research center include agribusiness, financial services and healthcare.

"In its nearly 10-year history, IBM Brazil's research laboratory has been at the forefront of advances in AI research and collaborates with the technology ecosystem in the country, promoting integration among researchers, students, organizations and companies," says Ulysses Mello, director at IBM Research Brazil.

"We intend to work on an even greater collaboration with researchers from around the world, promoting knowledge transfer to solve current and relevant problems of our society."

Over the next ten years, the facility receive $20 million in investment, coming from both organizations and academic organizations that may join the initiative as partners.

A tender has been launched by FAPESP to attract partners for the center. Proposals may be submitted by individual research groups or consortia led by research groups affiliated to universities or research institutes in the state of São Paulo.

Areas the new center is interested in include Natural Language Processing and deep learning, industrial applications for AI and the acceleration of AI-based systems that can process reading, processing and interacting in Portuguese. It is expected that the chosen projects will be announced in April.

According to the research foundation, teams involved with the center should be sufficiently skilled and able to carry out research that can stand out internationally and also interact with the education sector.

The center's scope will cover projects with the public and privates sectors and also facilitate the creation of new businesses that will be able to turn the results of the research into products and services.