Editor’s note: This article is by Oded Cohn, director of
IBM Research – Haifa.
It may seem obvious that IBM would have such a large
research center in Israel – especially today when almost every major global
technology company has a research and development presence in Israel. But this
definitely wasn't the case 40 years ago. Back in 1972, when the late Josef Raviv
established the IBM Scientific Center in Israel, it was a matter of inspiration
and real pioneering spirit. IBM opened the research center for the same reason
many hi-tech companies are opening up branches in Israel today: local talent
and brain power.
IBM's Research Lab in Haifa holds a unique position among Israeli hi-tech companies. On the one hand, we have great value in being technology leaders, but by virtue of our role in a global company, we have always had a vision that connects our lab's work to the worldwide markets. We are situated in a location that enables us to work with partners in the US, Europe and Asia. By sitting in the middle (of the Eastern hemisphere), we are accessible geographically and when it comes to time zones. With this, we look forward to working closely with IBM's newly announced lab
in Kenya's emerging market.
Who we are
Israel has the world’s highest number of scientists and
scientific publications, per capita.
Israel has the world's highest number of scientists per
capita at 135 scientists for every 100,000 workers. This year’s World Economic
also ranked the quality of Israel’s research universities number one. And the
country also has the highest number of startups outside Silicon Valley – in a
geographical area roughly the same size as Silicon Valley.
The Israeli culture embraces open collaboration to
communicate new ideas, which helps make our lab a focal center where people
with common interests – whether venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, academics,
or researchers – can meet at our leadership
or other conferences.
We've accomplished so much over the past 40 years. But the
fast pace of change presents a growing number of opportunities for us: for
example, working on a new partnership with the Israeli mobile team at
Worklight, which IBM recently
. This collaboration gave rise to a new mobile platform that is
helping companies develop, manage, and secure mobile apps being used by
employees at work.
Although mobile devices represent a terrific new convenience
for finding the nearest restaurant or avoiding traffic jams, mobile also has
the potential to transform many industries. Enterprises will soon manage their
business processes in completely different ways and IBM is playing a major role
in this transformation.
There are an infinite number of cool gadgets and fun apps
that will give us a coupon or find the nearest taxi, but we also need
technology to do the heavy lifting. Today, researchers in Haifa are working on
innovations for smarter agriculture to help solve the looming crisis of world food
supply, healthcare solutions for people in remote areas suffering from the lack
of access to physicians or medication, and improvements to the water supply in
By understanding the problems faced by other communities and
helping find solutions to things like healthcare services, food, and education,
we want to break down the barriers of different populations around the world.
I look forward to continuing our heritage of innovation and being part of
these solutions over the next 40 years.
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