Kenya continues to be an attractive technology hub for various IT firms. At a lunch briefing with the Kenya ICT board , IBM announced that it will open its first African IBM Research lab in Nairobi. The Nairobi lab becomes the company's 12th global lab joining existing labs in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Switzerland and the United States.
The lab will be set up in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (MOIC) through the Kenya ICT Board. It will conduct basic and applied research focused on solving problems relevant to Africa and contribute to the building of a science and technology base for the continent.
The new lab will be established in Catholic University. It will have a Resident Scientist Program and an international recruitment program to reach Kenyan and other African applicants. The program will aim to attract top Research and Development talent to work side-by-side with IBM researchers in the lab. The Resident Scientist candidates will be pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers including scientists and researchers from academia, Government and industry. The resident scientists will begin with a one-year tenure with options for this to be extended.
Resident scientists will be integrated into the IBM Research - Africa lab as well as IBM's global network of labs. Each resident scientist can collaborate with IBM researchers throughout IBM's global network of laboratories as they carry out their research.
Kenya's president, Mwai Kibaki, says IBM's commitment to undertake the proposed research agenda will contribute greatly to the national priorities as part of Kenya's Vision 2030. "We look forward to delivering world-class research and innovation as part of IBM's Smarter Planet initiative and playing an important role as an IT leader on the African continent."
IBM Research laboratories are credited with the creation of many of the foundations of information technology, including the invention of the relational database, disk storage, DRAM memory and much more. IBM Research has been recognized with five Nobel Prize Laureates, and many leading scientific and technical medals and awards. Recently IBM Research created a question-answering supercomputing system called Watson that defeated the champions of a major televised quiz show, showing its ability to match humans in answering a wide range of free text questions.
The research lab will explore the following areas:
Next Generation Public Sector: Governments have a mission critical role to play in the growth and sustainable developments in Africa. With the right kind of ICT, including big data solutions, advanced analytics, and cloud technologies, government organizations can draw insights and benefit from the vast amounts of data held by any number of government agencies. This can help advance e-government capabilities such as helping to reduce the cost of social services, improving efficiency and productivity, deterring fraud and abuse, improving citizen access to services, and enabling digital interaction between citizens and the public sector.
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