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SUNY Poly Albany Campus Wins $2B AI Hardware Center

February 8, 2019

IBM, a long-time anchor tenant at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute campus in Albany, plans to invest over $2 billion to grow its high-tech footprint at the campus and throughout New York State. This includes the establishment of an "AI Hardware Center" at SUNY Poly for artificial intelligence-focused computer chip research, development, prototyping, testing and simulation. Once established, the AI Hardware Center will be the nucleus of a new ecosystem of research and commercial partners, and further solidify the Capital Region's position as "Tech Valley" - a global hub for innovative research and development.

"New York has always been at the forefront of emerging industries, and this private sector investment to create a hub for artificial intelligence research will attract world-class minds and drive economic growth in the region," Governor Cuomo said. "Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform how we live and how businesses operate, and this partnership with IBM will help ensure New York continues to be on the cutting edge developing innovative technologies."

"This investment by IBM will continue to grow New York's high-tech industry in the Capital Region and across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The artificial intelligence hardware center will expand research and partnerships at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and ensure Tech Valley attracts innovative business and development that drives economic development in the region."

IBM's expected $2 billion investment will be made at SUNY Poly and other IBM facilities in New York State. IBM plans to provide at least $30 million in cash and in-kind contributions for artificial intelligence research across the SUNY system, with SUNY matching up to $25 million for a combined total of $55 million. Empire State Development will provide a $300 million capital grant over five years, to the Research Foundation for SUNY to purchase, own and install tools necessary to support the AI Hardware Center.

IBM also plans to expand and extend its partnership with SUNY Poly for the Center for Semiconductor Research (CSR), which is set to expire at the end of 2021, through at least 2023, with an option to extend the CSR for an additional five years through 2028.

The AI Hardware Center will attract new AI industry companies and federal research to the state, while fostering economic development and working to create several hundred new jobs and retain hundreds of other existing jobs at the SUNY Poly campus and at IBM's and its collaborators' facilities.

Mukesh Khare, Vice President, Semiconductor and AI Hardware, IBM Research said, "AI will transform the world in dramatic ways in the coming years. IBM is pushing the boundaries of AI faster - for the benefit of industry and society. By expanding our partnership with New York State, we are creating a global hub of AI hardware research with an ecosystem to innovate, incubate, and lead in the development of disruptive technologies."

Steve Ghanayem, Senior Vice President of New Markets and Alliances at Applied Materials said, "We are excited to expand our long-time technology partnership with IBM as a member of the new AI Hardware Center. Achieving the levels of computing performance and efficiency needed in the AI era requires innovation in chipmaking materials and methods. Applied is focused on using our expertise in materials engineering to help the industry accelerate development of advanced technology."

New York State research facilities have been at the center of significant technological advancements and breakthroughs, from developing the machinery and equipment for next-generation wafers to inventing some of the smallest and most advanced computer chips in the world.

Over the past two decades, the State has partnered with leaders in industry and academia to establish the infrastructure, workforce and ecosystem necessary for high-technology companies to thrive in the Capital Region and Upstate New York. The results have been significant, generating billions of dollars in economic activity and, according to a 2018 report by Georgetown University, more than 60,000 total direct, indirect, induced, and construction jobs in the region are attributable to nanotechnology. These efforts have transformed the region into Tech Valley - a global hub for nanotechnology and semiconductor R&D and manufacturing.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Establishing the AI Hardware Center will solidify New York State's position at the forefront of artificial intelligence, one of the world's fastest-growing and most socially transformative technologies which is driving unprecedented opportunities within the high-tech sector. By investing in the infrastructure necessary to support innovation, this partnership between New York State and IBM will add to SUNY Poly's remarkable record of industry-leading research, and continue to attract thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity across the Capital Region and New York State."

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "Under the Governor's leadership, our partnership with businesses continues to foster research breakthroughs and economic growth while working to combat everything from diseases and cancer, to mitigating climate change. We continue to offer a world-class education in innovative fields, and artificial intelligence is just one example of how SUNY is investing in new tech clusters to prepare our students for the good-paying jobs of tomorrow. We are proud to collaborate for this transformational work at SUNY Poly."

In support of the project, New York State will partner with neighboring Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The AI Hardware Center is also expected to recruit and collaborate with a growing number of other high-tech companies, with initial partners including Applied Materials, Samsung and Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL).

This research partnership between New York State and IBM is part of the recently-announced New York Center for Research, Economic Advancement, Technology Engineering and Science (NY CREATES). NY CREATES represents a new partnership between ESD and SUNY to lead industry-oriented R&D and economic development projects that grow the state's high-tech economy. In addition to advancing new projects with an expanded roster of industry and university partners, NY CREATES will streamline the management of SUNY Poly's former economic development portfolio while continuing to ensure that State supported high-tech projects will operate more effectively and with transparency, integrity and accountability.

Dr. Douglas Grose, Future President of NY CREATES said, "We are proud to promote New York State's leadership in the high-tech sector through this new and enhanced partnership with IBM. This initiative will drive significant investments and job creation that will benefit the local, regional, and state economy while laying the groundwork for important artificial intelligence-focused research, development, and commercialization, supporting continued collaborative opportunities within this fast-growing field."

SUNY Polytechnic Institute Interim President Grace Wang said, "We look forward to even greater collaboration with IBM and other partners in artificial intelligence research, providing opportunities for our faculty and researchers, as well as hands-on educational opportunities for our students. SUNY Poly is thrilled to play a critical role in attracting leading-edge innovation-focused economic engagement activities such as the Artificial Intelligence Hardware Center, in addition to training the next-generation workforce to maintain New York and the United States' dominance in this strategically important technological area."

John Kolb, Vice President for Information Services and Technology and Chief Information Officer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute said, "Our partnership with New York State builds on the deep expertise Rensselaer has in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and computation. The work we do together will keep New York in the forefront of next generation computing."

Senator Neil D. Breslin said, "SUNY Poly has been at the forefront of numerous technological breakthroughs and has been a continuous economic driver here in the Capital Region. Aligning SUNY Poly's vision with industry leaders and academic institutions like RPI, the creation of this new AI Hardware Center will ensure our region's position as a global hub and leader in technological advancement."

Assembly Member Patricia Fahy said, "I applaud IBM's investment in a new AI Hardware Center for SUNY Polytechnic Institute, a key driver of economic development and growth in our region. As Chair of the NYS Assembly's Commission on Science & Technology, I'm excited by the research potential of this new center. Automated systems will play a crucial role in workforce development and combating climate change in the near future. I thank the Governor for his support - this investment will spur even greater job growth and further our region's desire to be the nation's Second Tech Valley."

Assembly Member John T. McDonald III said, "The Capital Region is home to scientific innovation and research making it a logical choice for the AI Hardware Center. I am confident that this investment will build upon investments in the past and will lead to even greater growth in the Capital Region."

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, "Today's announcement shows that right here in Albany County, we are leading the way in high-tech. I commend Governor Cuomo for his continued investment and leadership in creating rewarding partnerships with industry leaders like this one with IBM."

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "IBM's groundbreaking investment affirms SUNY Poly's status as one of the country's premier research and development institutions, and the new AI Hardware Center is a welcome addition to Albany's growing technology sector. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo and the talented and dedicated teams at Empire State Development and SUNY Poly for their continued commitment to New York's 'Tech Valley.'"

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