Alibaba Group announced that it is launching a new research project aimed to deal with emerging technologies like artificial technology, machine learning, network security, the internet of things and quantum computing.
The institution has been named DAMO (Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook) Academy. Alibaba plans to recruit about 100 researchers to staff its labs around the world. Alibaba plans to open two labs in China in Hangzhou and Beijing. Overseas, it plans to open labs in San Mateo, Seattle, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Singapore. According to a spokesperson, the Singapore lab will be the first overseas one to open, with a launch expected early next year.
Funding for the academy comes as part of a larger $15 billion push into R&D that Alibaba has planned for the next three years. That amount represents a near doubling of the $2.5 billion the company spent in “product development” during the fiscal year ended in March 2017.
Jeff Zhang, the chief technology officer of Alibaba Group, will lead the academy. This move places Alibaba in line with major Silicon Valley players, such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, and Snap. Alibaba plans to work transparently and is highly likely to contribute information to the public through research papers, open-source projects and other collaborations.
The academy’s advisory board includes esteemed and reputed professors from a number of leading research institutions both in China and the United States. Among them are Harvard geneticist George Church, founder of the Personal Genome Project, and Jeanette Wing, director of the Data Science Institute at Columbia University and a former vice president at Microsoft Research.
Alibaba also plans to work with local partners to drive its research forward. Alibaba will partner with the University of California, Berkeley’s Real-Time Intelligent Secure Execution Lab on its research into secure computing.
This academy will also benefit Alibaba, in that it’ll be able to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with the latest trends in technology. This is very important, as the company competes to become a global power in the tech industry.