- IBM will invest $2 billion in its New York footprint that will help create an artificial intelligence (AI) research center at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week.
- The new research hub, dubbed the AI Hardware Center, will focus on computer chip research, development, prototyping, testing and simulation. IBM also plans to expand and extend its partnership with SUNY's Center for Semiconductor Research by at least two years and potentially through 2028.
- As part of the plan, IBM will donate $30 million in cash and in-kind contributions for AI research across the SUNY system, with SUNY matching up to $25 million. Empire State Development will provide a $300 million capital grant for SUNY to purchase, own and install tools necessary to support the AI Hardware Center.
The AI Hardware Center is one of a handful of new tech hubs designed around private sector and academic collaboration in emerging technologies.
In 2017, Cornell University opened the first phase of its $2 billion, 12-acre Cornell Tech campus in New York City. That project is already seen as a successful tech center and one of the reasons why Amazon decided to place half of its second headquarters (HQ2) in the city.
Virginia Tech, meanwhile, was already hoping to emulate Cornell in creating a research hub in Northern Virginia when Amazon announced its plans to put the other half of HQ2 there. The university's plans took shape and gained political momentum as the state tried to woo Amazon. The result is a $1 billion, 1 million-square-foot, tech-focused Innovation Campus planned for Alexandria, Virginia. Like Cornell Tech, it is credited with being a major lure for Amazon's HQ2.
Meanwhile, the Georgia Institute of Technology in September announced plans to expand its offerings in Atlanta with a 400,000-square-foot complex for graduate and executive education in industrial engineering and business, part of a $200 million development phase. The University of Rhode Island said in December it plans to add three new "innovation" campuses designed to support the commercialization of academic research and spur local industry. The effort is supported by $12 million in public spending and expected to draw $122 million in private investment.
Virginia Tech and other states' plans are partly based on the model of "innovation districts," which the Brookings Institution described in a report as areas that bring together public and private sector groups to support entrepreneurship and economic development and that are making an impact globally and have staying power.
Cuomo's office said in a press release that its collaboration with IBM is expected to create "several hundred new jobs" and retain existing jobs at SUNY Polytechnic and IBM facilities. It's also expected to attract other tech companies focused on AI.