IBM Watson takes analytics prowess overseas: Supercomputer to work on big data and genomics in Italy

Computing giant to invest up to $150M to create European Center of Excellence, with focus on personalized medicine and more.
By Bernie Monegain
09:36 AM

Watson, IBM's supercomputing brainchild, will soon have its own pied-à-terre across the pond. Big Blue announced Thursday it would launch its first Watson Health European Center of Excellence in Milan near the Human Technopole Italy 2040 research campus.

Watson will become part of Italy's initiative to establish an international hub for the advancement of genomics, big data, aging, and nutrition, officials said.

IBM plans to invest up to $150 million over the next several years in the project that will bring together Watson Health data scientists, engineers, researchers and designers to develop new data-driven healthcare applications and solutions.

IBM data scientists, engineers and programmers will collaborate with organizations across Europe to create a new class of cloud-based connected solutions to help speed research of new treatments, personalized medicine, and discoveries to boost public health management while advancing sustainable health systems.

Watson, of course, is all about data. Just this past February, IBM Watson announced it would buy data giant Truven Health for $2.6 billion, adding a huge repository of health data to the Watson Health Cloud.

[Also: IBM Watson buying Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion]

"Italy is important to IBM not only because of the creativity, skills and talent of the country's workforce, but also because of the government's efforts to digitize Italy's economy," said Erich Clementi, senior vice president, IBM Europe, in a news release.

"This new era in health will not be achieved through solitary efforts," added Deborah DiSanzo, general manager for IBM Watson Health. "It will require the work of countless experts together in an ecosystem where ideas are easily shared to improve and save lives around the world."

The Watson Health European Center of Excellence builds on IBM's recent investments in Italy and across Europe, including a new IBM Cloud data center in Milan, and the opening of the Watson IoT Global Headquarters in Munich, Germany.

IBM has been operating in Italy since 1927, with multiple business divisions in various technology sectors, from energy to transport and healthcare. IBM Italy headquarters are in Segrate, R&D Software center and its Fondazione IBM Italia in Rome.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
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