Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Alibaba unveils 3-year $15bn technology investment plan

Beijing, Hangzhou, San Mateo, Bellevue, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Singapore all to get part of one of the company’s largest global investments to date.

Chinese multinational Alibaba has announced it will invest $15bn in a global research program over the next three years in a bid to increase technological collaboration and advance development of cutting-edge technology.

The news came from the company’s CTO Jeff Zhang who said the Alibaba DAMO Academy, as the program will be known, will open seven research and development labs around the world in Beijing, Hangzhou, San Mateo, Bellevue, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Singapore.

He said: “The Alibaba DAMO Academy will be at the forefront of developing next-generation technology that will spur the growth of Alibaba and our partners.

“We aim to discover breakthrough technologies that will enable greater efficiency, network security and ecosystem synergy for end-users and businesses everywhere.”

Zhang also added: “DAMO,” in case you are wondering, stands for “discovery,” “adventure,” “momentum” and “outlook.”

The executive has been tasked with overseeing the works done at the academy together with a “global advisory board that includes some of the world’s top researchers and educators”.

Alibaba said it plans to recruit 100 scientists and researchers for the first phase of the program who will delve into both foundational and disruptive technology research.

Research areas will cover data intelligence, the Internet of Things, fintech, quantum computing and human-machine interaction.

Within those areas, the company said the works will focus on real-world applications as machine learning, network security, visual computing, Natural Language Processing, among others.

Zhang also announced that the Alibaba DAMO Academy will work with other technology people and educational institutions, including, for example, UC Berkeley, via its RISE Lab in areas such as secured real-time computing.