IBM cut the ribbon on its new Client Center for Advanced Analytics in Columbus, Ohio today, looking to combine its analytics technologies in a college graduate-rich area to help solve client problems and incubate analytics talent.
The center is one of several recent initiatives that are public, private and academic partnerships, with similar focuses on big data and analytics in Massachusetts, New York City and around Charlotte, N.C.
Ron Lovell, IBM’s vice president in charge of the new center, said IBM’s advanced big data and analytics technologies—like the supercomputer Watson, and analytics for social media data, call centers and financials—will come together with several different types of data scientists under one roof as a resource to clients and Ohio State University.
“Our mission is to engage with our clients across all our industry dimensions, from healthcare financial services, retail etc., to solve business problems around analytics,” Lovell said. “We can do it with dedicated IBM teams that will be focused on a client problem, or we can do it collaboratively with clients on site here, or share between their site and our site.”
The analytics work will be mostly for IBM clients, but Lovell said IBM has already started working with Ohio State to help create a more robust analytics curriculum across different schools inside the university. The advanced analytics center will provide internship and cooperative opportunities, and local analytics professionals from IBM and elsewhere will have a presence in the university’s classrooms, Lovell said.
Kenny McDonald, the CEO of an economic development agency called Columbus 2020, said the center will create 500 new jobs in the area. McDonald expects the center will foster big data start-ups Columbus 2020, as well as the public job initiative called JobsOhio, worked with IBM to bring the center to Columbus.
Columbus-based research laboratory Battelle, which already partners with IBM for projects like the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project, is also a partner in the center.
“Columbus is a growing tech center,” said McDonald. “We have the talent, we have the expertise, and we can do it at probably a lower cost than you can on the coasts.”
Lovell said the collection of talent around Columbus is the major reason IBM chose the area to host its big data analytic center. Within a 200-mile radius, Lovell said, there are more college graduates in any area of the country other than Boston.
“Columbus, Ohio couldn’t be a better place to build a center for analytics,” Lovell said, “The demand for talent is definitely out there.”
Boston and Cambridge are the center of another partnership between government, private business and academia. MIT, the state of Massachusetts and Intel are creating a big data collaborative. That collaborative includes Intel’s private investment at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, or CSAIL, and the state’s investment in a local non-profit big data research center called Hack/Reduce.
New York City unveiled a plan, supported by $100 million in real estate and infrastructure improvements, to launch a technology campus called CornellNYC, a joint venture for computer scientists at Cornell and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte also has efforts underway to build academic programs and host professional conferences.