- IBM and MIT are launching the new IBM-MIT Laboratory for Brain-inspired Multimedia Machine Comprehension (BM3C).
- The BM3C will develop cognitive computing systems that emulate the human ability to process audio and visual information.
- IBM launched the Cognitive Horizons Network (CHN), which besides MIT includes several leading universities and research centers.
International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) announced a collaboration with the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT to advance the scientific field of machine vision, a core aspect of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
"In a world where humans and machines are working together in increasingly collaborative relationships, breakthroughs in the field of machine vision will potentially help us live healthier more productive lives," said Guru Banavar, Chief Scientist, Cognitive Computing and VP at IBM Research. "By bringing together brain researchers and computer scientists to solve this complex technical challenge, we will advance the state-of-the-art in AI with our collaborators at MIT."
The goal of the new IBM-MIT Laboratory for Brain-inspired Multimedia Machine Comprehension (BM3C) will be to develop cognitive computing systems that emulate the human ability to understand and integrate inputs from multiple sources of audio and visual information into a detailed computer representation of the world that can be used in a variety of computer applications in industries such as healthcare, education, and entertainment.
Cognitive computing research, a branch of AI research also related to Machine Learning (ML), aims at developing computer systems that learn how to solve more and more complex real-world problems and understand the world like humans. The automated machine learning technology of Watson, IBM's cognitive computing software platform, is at the forefront of AI research, but there are practical spin-offs that can already be used in advanced medical applications and commercial applications built on the Watson Developer Cloud.
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Recently IBM launched a new supercomputer designed for high-performance cognitive computing applications. The Power System S822LC for High-Performance Computing leverages the power of NVIDIA 's (NASDAQ:NVDA) Tesla P100 GPUs and NVLink to deliver high-performance analytics and enable deep learning applications for Big Data. A related NVIDIA blog post noted that the new IBM supercomputer is especially targeted at AI applications like understanding speech, text, images and video or analyzing big data for insights.
The BMC3 lab will conduct research in the field of unsupervised machine understanding of audio-visual streams of data, using insights from next-generation models of the brain to inform advances in machine vision. machine learning and reasoning, decision techniques, and domain-specific knowledge understanding. IBM and MIT envisage applications to different sectors including health care and the maintenance of industrial machinery.
"Our brain and cognitive scientists are excited to team up with cognitive computing scientists and engineers from IBM to achieve next-generation cognitive computing advances as exposed by next-generation models of the mind,” said Jim DiCarlo, head of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) at MIT, who'll lead the BM3C. "We believe that our fields are poised to make key advances in the very challenging domain of unassisted real-world audio-visual understanding and we are looking forward to this new collaboration."
For IBM research, the collaboration with MIT is but one of a string of new partnerships aimed at advancing the company's expertise in the emerging and highly promising sector of cognitive computing. At the annual IBM Research Cognitive Colloquium at the T.J. Watson Research Center, IBM announced the establishment of the Cognitive Horizons Network (CHN), a network of the world’s leading universities committed to working with IBM to accelerate the development of core technologies needed to advance the promise of cognitive computing.
Besides MIT, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms of the University of Montreal, will collaborate with IBM in the CHN framework on research projects ranging from conversational systems to cybersecurity.
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"The ability of AI systems to transform vast amounts of complex, ambiguous information into insight has the potential to do amazing things: discover insights to treat disease, predict the weather, or manage the global economy," explains Banavar in an IBM Research blog post. "It is an undeniably powerful tool, and it takes the best minds to make the breakthroughs necessary for progress. Together with our academic partners in the Cognitive Horizons Network and the motivating business problems from our clients, IBM is committed to advancing the science in a way that maximizes the benefit to all of society, quickly and responsibly."
Though MIT and the other universities in the CHN emphasize the research aspects of cognitive computing, IBM seems to be strategically aiming at industry leadership, with a clear vision of future commercial applications of machine understanding. The arrival of computer systems that can think like people, and perform tasks that previously could only be performed by highly skilled human operators, promises to have a deep impact on most industries in only a few years. Therefore, tech investors should continue to consider IBM stock as a buy-and-hold.