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.