Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Alibaba injects $15bn into IoT, FinTech & Quantum Computing

Alibaba injects $15bn into IoT, FinTech & Quantum Computing

The Alibaba "Damo" academy would launch eight research bases in China, Israel, the United States, Russia and Singapore and was hiring 100 researchers to work on artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and fintech, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. The initiative is part of Alibaba's so-called DAMO Academy (or "Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook") and will include the opening of seven new labs: two in China, with others in Singapore, Moscow, near Seattle, and in Silicon Valley.

Within these broad sectors, the labs will focus on hot topics such as machine learning, network security, visual computing, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), and in doing so, is now looking to recruit 100 talented researchers from around the world. In each area, researchers will focus on real-world applications such as machine learning, network security and natural language processing.

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"The labs will help solve issues that Alibaba is now facing across its business lines", Jeff Zhang, Alibaba's chief technology officer, said in a telephone interview. An advisory board, consisting of researchers and educators from various top universities such as MIT will guide the program. The company's aim is to discover advance technologies that will offer great efficiency, network security and ecosystem synergy for users and businesses, according to MR Zhang. In order to carry out research, the company would also liaison with educational institutes such as MIT, University of California, and Berkeley.

He also said that Alibaba wants to benefit small businesses and narrow the technology gap, "to make our world a more inclusive place". The additional R&D investment is designed to help the business deliver on its goal of serving 2 billion customers and create 100 million job opportunities in 20 years. Now the e-commerce giant has 25,000 engineers and scientists on its staff and hopes to create 100m job opportunities within the next two decades. "Over the past 18 years, we have developed a robust technology infrastructure that supports the rapid growth of our business", Zhang says.

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