IBM and university team work at research and development center in Ontario


In a new major public-private partnership IBMa group of seven universities, and the governments of Canada and Ontario announced a collaboration that will result in the creation of a new $210 million research and development centre in Ontario. The centre, called the IBM Canada Research and Development Centre, is IBM's first official research and development laboratory in Canada.

IBM will install two high-performance IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputers and develop a cloud computing platform to support the initiative's research collaboration. The university consortium, led by the University of Toronto and Western University, will have access to a new IBM data center in Barrie, Ontario, once it is fully operational in fall 2012. Other Canadian researchers and small to medium-sized companies will also be invited to join the consortium.

Overall, the investment will be significant. IBM has committed up to $175 million to the project through December 2014. The Ontario government is investing $15 million and the Canadian government is contributing $20 million, bringing the total investment to $210 million.

“As we begin a new century of innovation for IBM, we are investing in this industry-building initiative to further strengthen Canada’s competitiveness in the global digital economy now and in the future,” said John Lutz, President of IBM Canada.

The project aims to help researchers at universities and in industry use high-performance and cloud computing infrastructures to better manage and analyze huge data sets to address major societal challenges such as health issues, water conservation, energy efficiency and software innovation.

“Canada needs more knowledge-based industries to diversify our national economic portfolio beyond the current overweight in commodities and natural resources and to address our identified innovation gap,” said Professor David Naylor, President of the University of Toronto. “This joint initiative directly targets these issues by creating modern research networks that apply advanced computing capabilities to important topics such as water monitoring, management and distribution, energy monitoring and management, urban planning and traffic management for smart cities, and the marriage of brain science and artificial intelligence.”

According to Re$earch Infosource Inc.'s Canada's Top 100 R&D Spenders, IBM made the third largest corporate investment in research and development in Canada last year. The new R&D center will represent a solid extension of IBM's more than $6 billion investment in global research and development, which has helped generate more than $1.7 billion in exports to Canada.