Home Industry Development Gillard announces unique Australian IBM R&D lab for better world, points to NBN as reason

Gillard announces unique Australian IBM R&D lab for better world, points to NBN as reason

Today Prime Minister Julia Gillard and IBM Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Glen Boreham announced a new global research and development lab to be based at the University of Melbourne, creating 150 jobs and tackling Australian national concerns. The NBN is cited as a major drawcard.

Gillard today announced a unique IBM Research and Development lab to be based at the University of Melbourne and open in 1st quarter 2011.

Gillard made the announcement at 10:30am this morning at the University of Melbourne, introduced by the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis. She was accompanied by Victorian Premier John Brumby and IBM Australia Chief Technology Officer Glenn Wightwick, as well as a media entourage.

The lab will be the first IBM lab combining both research and development in a single operation, with the aim of accelerating progress towards a smarter planet.

Specifically, the lab will focus on areas critical to Australian like water management, transport in urban centres, natural disaster management, smart electrical grids and more.

While the lab is expected to bring many benefits to the state of Victoria - including 150 new researcher positions over five years, 38 of which will be PhD students - the lab will have far-reaching benefits to Australia nationally as well as demonstrating to the world the contribution Australia can make in science and technology.

Gillard stated the Federal Government has committed $22m in funding over five years, with the Victorian government also making a contribution.

She claimed the Labor government's investment in the National Broadband Network (NBN) was one factor of several which caused IBM to choose Australia for this lab, which will need high performance computing.

Both Victorian Premier John Brumby and IBM Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Glen Boreham similarly emphasised this point. Brumby referred to Victoria's hosting of the NBN hub, while Boreham repeated Gillard's claim that a ubiquituous high speed broadband network would make their projects possible.

Gillard drew on IBM's rich history of research and development, citing big blue's background in programming languages, relational database systems and super conductivity.

The IBM lab is touted as a big win for Melbourne, a big win for Australia and a big win for industry. Boreham stated that this was the most significant day and announcement in IBM's entire 78 year history in Australia.



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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.