IBM locates major risk ‘collaboratory’ in Ireland

16 Oct 2009

Computing giant IBM is establishing a new Risk Management Analytics research centre in Dublin that will collaborate with UCC, IRCSET, Science Foundation Ireland and the company’s other analytic centres across the globe.

In an IDA Ireland-supported investment, IBM plans to utilise the vast expertise of its research labs – harnessing next-generation analytics and intelligent software – to develop enhanced methods and tools that will help companies in industries such as manufacturing, pharmaceutical, health care and government to better manage risk.

Through its established collaboratory in Ireland, IBM will join together with the University College Cork, IRCSET, Science Foundation Ireland, and IBM Research scientists in Zurich, Switzerland, and Yorktown Heights, NY, USA, on the development of these advanced risk-analytics technologies.

Risk modelling and management ideas

“This collaboration provides IBM the opportunity to explore exciting new areas of risk modelling and management, incorporating new techniques in information extraction, visualisation and optimisation that will enable businesses to more effectively manage their operations in the face of uncertainty,” said Brenda Dietrich, vice-president of Business Analytics and Math Sciences at IBM Research and an IBM research fellow.

“Ireland’s track record, combined with its ongoing research and development approach to new business creation, makes it an ideal location for the Risk Management Analytics research,” she added.

The primary research will be in the areas of risk information extraction and quantification, based on both structured and unstructured data, as well as expert opinion, efficient risk-based optimisation techniques, and ways to communicate and interact with risk information.

Such techniques can be used, for example, to assess and plan for potential supplier or labour disruptions, determine optimal policies for drug administration across patients, or make smarter investments in energy sources. 

“This further investment by IBM, one of Ireland’s largest employers, is sincerely welcomed following on from the establishment of the company’s Green Data Centre and Exascale projects,” said Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan TD.

Maths Week Ireland

“This announcement is particularly poignant given this is Maths Week Ireland which aims to raise awareness, appreciation and understanding of maths. The formation of this maths-focused research team demonstrates at the highest level the importance of mathematics to the Irish economy and mirrors the Government’s focus on providing investors to Ireland with the highest-level mathematics graduates.

“Research and development is vital to the growth of Ireland’s knowledge economy and this project in particular is vital to the strategic development of IBM on a global scale. Ireland has a long-standing and strong relationship with IBM and with the support of the Irish Government we look forward to building further on this into the future,” the Minister concluded.

An IBM collaboratory is a laboratory where IBM researchers co-locate with a university, government or commercial partner to share skills, assets and resources to achieve a common research goal.

In November 2008, IBM established a research collaboratory in Ireland. Researchers are already at work with government and academic leaders to develop exascale systems that will help solve the complex business and scientific problems of the future.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years