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Icons of Progress

The First Corporate Pure Science Research Laboratory


The legacy of research that originated with the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory at Columbia has given rise to IBM research laboratories that stretch across the globe. Today, major IBM research laboratories can also be found in Brazil, China, India, Israel, Japan and Switzerland—and smaller labs populate a handful of additional countries. These labs take advantage of the resources and knowledge of their host countries, while also helping to address those countries’ unique challenges. With a truly global research capability, IBM can put researchers in the field to help clients, governments and universities apply scientific breakthroughs to solve real-world business and societal challenges.

China Research Lab, Beijing

IBM Research established its China Research Laboratory in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Software Park at Shangdi District—the area popularly known as China’s Silicon Valley— in 1995. The lab’s initial focus was to create software and applications that are especially relevant to China, such as digital libraries, speech recognition for Mandarin, machine translation and Chinese language processing. Besides Chinese speech and language technologies, the research agenda includes next-generation services and high-performance computing, among other endeavors.

Newest lab opens in Brazil

IBM’s ninth research lab—and its first in South America—began operations in June 2010 in the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. One of the region’s unique research opportunities is its need for smarter “human systems” to help manage large-scale events. The timing is no accident: Brazil will host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016. The lab adds about 100 South American scientists to the 3000 worldwide IBM scientists working on smarter planet solutions, such as smarter transportation, healthcare and agribusiness.