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IBM Canada invests $65 million for innovative collaborations

by Jason Winders | March 30, 2016

IBM Canada invests in innovative collaborations

A renewed commitment from IBM Canada Ltd., will allow Western to continue to invest – and re-invest – in the necessary people and projects to push our society forward.

In November, a new $65-million investment from IBM Canada Ltd. enabled the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) to add new areas of focus to its collaborative research-and-development mandate and double the number of academic institutions in the consortium. IBM’s investment comes in the way of agile, advanced computing infrastructure and big data analytics, as well as related support through research, IT and business expertise.

Created in 2012, SOSCIP supports collaborations between academic researchers and small- and medium-sized companies using advanced computing and big data analytics. The ultimate goal is for these projects to bring new products and services to market.

Founded with a focus on research into five core areas – cities, health, energy, water and advanced computing – IBM’s renewed investment expands the project’s scope into four new areas – mining, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and digital media. SOSCIP will place a strategic emphasis on commercialization and partnerships with medium-sized companies to help them adopt advanced computing and big data analytics technologies.

IBM’s latest investment was also critical to securing matching funding required to generate support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

IBM’s original investment funded several projects at Western with tremendous impacts, including:

  • Computer Science professor Mark Daley uses agile and cloud computing for the analysis of functional MRIs. His team has been able to reduce the time from when a patient is scanned to when a doctor is able to provide analysis from weeks to hours or even minutes. For patients, this can lead to faster treatment and better health outcomes;
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Girma Bitsuamlak, Canada Research Chair in Wind Engineering, works to fortify urban infrastructure against thunderstorms and winter snowstorms utilizing IBM stream software on hybrid numerical and experimental wind testing research; and
  • Earth Science professor Neil Banerjee and Computer Science professor Michael Bauer use IBM analytical tools to help mining companies find mineral deposits that are deeply buried or in remote locations.

“Western is very proud to co-lead the SOSCIP project with the University of Toronto and its team, and we are thrilled to have such a strong relationship with IBM as our lead industrial partner,” said Amit Chakma, Western president. “With this additional investment, we will continue to increase confidence in the digital economy through improved online security, empower health professionals to more quickly provide accurate diagnoses, and prepare businesses to identify risks and take advantage of new opportunities. This is where research has impact – in our communities.”

This article appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of Impact Western
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