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A new $240 million center at MIT may help advance the field of artificial intelligence by developing novel devices and materials to power the latest machine-learning algorithms. It could, perhaps, also help IBM reclaim its reputation for doing cutting-edge AI.

The project, announced by IBM and MIT today, will research new approaches in deep learning, a technique in AI that has led to big advances in areas such as machine vision and voice recognition. But it will also explore completely new computing devices, materials, and physical phenomena, including efforts to harness quantum computers—exotic but potentially very powerful new machines—to make AI even more capable.

“A lot of innovation is happening using standard silicon and architectures, but what about the devices and the material science?” says Dario Gil, vice president of AI at IBM Research. “It’s an area no one is touching, and it has the potential for orders-of-magnitude improvements.”

The center will also look at ways that AI can be more effectively deployed in industries like health care and security. And it will study the economic impact of artificial intelligence and automation, a hugely significant issue for society.

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Category: Science