IBM launches Africa's second lab in Joburg

2016-08-26 06:00 - Kyle Venktess, Fin24
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Johannesburg - Computer engineering giant IBM launched its second research location in Africa at the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on Thursday.

Solomon Assef, director of IBM Research Africa, said the company has partnered with the best universities in opening research facilities in other parts of the world.

"We have chosen to partner with Wits as it is the number one university on the African continent," he said.

"The Tshimologong Precinct is in a developing area of Johannesburg and we want to be an agent or seed for change and a catalyst for innovation in Braamfontein," he added.

IBM’s first research lab in Africa was opened in Kenya in 2013. Assef, who will now oversee both projects, said the centres would work in conjunction with one another.

“Southern Africa is definitely different from Eastern Africa, but we have noted that the challenges remain the same,” he said.

Assef added: “The labs will definitely work together and through this we will also create other partnerships.”

The Tshimologong Precinct lab will focus on three areas noted as being of national importance by IBM - data driven healthcare, exploring the universe and digital urban ecosystems.

In the part of the lab focused on healthcare, scientists are developing new ways to report cancer and tuberculosis cases.

IBM scientists in South Africa will be joining NASA, the SETI Institute and Swinburne University to develop an application to analyse the 168 million radio events detected over the past 10 years by the Allen Telescope Array.

Some of the IBM scientists from South Africa will conduct research out of the astronomical section of the lab.

The urban research division will focus on creating early warning systems for wildfires in Cape Town, traffic congestion and detection of air pollution in cities.

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