BENGALURU — India’s leading university, Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) and tech giant IBM announced on Wednesday that the university will join the ‘AI Horizons Network’, as part of a multi-year collaboration to advance AI research.

‘AI Horizons Network’ is an international consortium of leading universities working with the software major to develop technologies needed to help fulfil the promise of AI.

As part of a multi-year collaboration, the department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT-B will pair graduate students with scientists from IBM Research-India to accelerate the application of AI, machine learning, natural language processing and related technologies for business and industry.

Both the teams will investigate new techniques for knowledge representation across documents, graphs, charts, and other forms of multi-media content. This area of research will be critical in helping to develop new AI applications in key industries such as financial services, retail and healthcare, which rely heavily on rich, multi-modal content.

The collaboration will also work to advance the field of training and building domain-specific AI agents (chatbots), which are designed to aid humans in complex decision making such as making trading and investment choices in financial services. Additionally, work is planned to explore new, domain-neutral training approaches which could enable faster, more efficient training of AI systems.

"Over its 20-year history, IBM Research - India has been at the forefront of research advances in technologies like AI and blockchain. We have always had strong collaborations with the leading academic institutions in India,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president, Hybrid Cloud and director, IBM Research. “Through this collaboration with IIT Bombay, we aim to accelerate the pace of innovation for AI in India, working hand-in-hand with some of the top scientists and research scholars in the country."

Speaking on the relevance of collaboration Prof. Devang Khakhar, Director, IIT Bombay said “This partnership will enable our faculty to work in collaboration with researchers around the world on the frontiers of AI focusing on industrially relevant problems and will provide access to large data sets.”

With this collaboration, IIT-B becomes the first institution outside North America to join the IBM AI Horizons Network.

Globally, eight leading universities – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, Universite de Montreal, University of Maryland at Baltimore County, UC San Diego and University of Massachusetts at Amherst - are working with IBM, in key areas designed to accelerate the development of AI technologies.

— Sufia Tippu is a freelance tech journalist based in India contributing to EE Times India