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IBM has donated $240 million to MIT for a new joint laboratory to research artificial intelligence, instantly producing one of the richest academic-industry efforts in the world. Anantha Chandrakasan, MIT's new dean of engineering, told Axios that the 10-year IBM grant is the result of discussions that began only in the summer, and will result in the establishment of the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab.

The lab, to involve more than 100 AI scientists from both IBM and MIT, will conduct fundamental research and encourage faculty and students to spin out companies from discoveries they develop.

The lab's establishment comes amid an AI research-and-commercialization frenzy at universities, in Silicon Valley and in tech companies around the world, all attempting to capture part of what is seen as an inflection point in the next economy — the shift to intelligent products. In 2015, for instance, Toyota announced more than $1 billion in funding for its own center, plus research at both MIT and Stanford.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.