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IBM appoints new director of Australian research lab

IBM appoints new director of Australian research lab

Professor Iven Mareels will lead the lab in Southgate, Victoria

IBM has appointed Professor Iven Mareels as lab director of its Australian IBM Research arm.

Mareels will lead the company’s Melbourne-based facility, which is focused on accelerating research and discovery in areas including healthcare informatics, artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing.

He replaces Dr. Joanna Batstone, who is returning to the USA after three years as chief of the local lab, and ANZ chief technology officer. She is taking up the position of vice president of IBM Watson Cloud Platform in the US.

Mareels joins IBM following a 20 year career at the University of Melbourne, the last ten as Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering.

“Iven is an eminent leader in the Australian research community,” said Michael Karasick, vice president of global labs, IBM Research.

“He is also a strong advocate for the IBM Research and University of Melbourne partnership, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence and health and life sciences research. His long heritage collaborating with IBM Research ensures he will be in a strong position to continue the lab’s robust collaboration ecosystem,” Karasick added.

The Melbourne lab was founded in 2011 and is one of IBM’s 12 research labs globally.

Researchers there have published work in the application of image analytics to detect melanoma and eye disease, deep learning for the prediction of epilepsy seizures and blockchain in banking and finance.

“The Melbourne-based IBM Research lab offers an incredibly unique opportunity to bridge academia and industry, while focusing on driving innovation that is relevant to local clients – and the broader Australian community. I have worked closely with the lab since its inception in 2011, and look forward to leading it into a new phase of innovation and research leadership,” Mareels said.

IBM last week announced the University of Melbourne as an IBM Q Network Hub, giving early access to its 20 qubit quantum computer.

The Q Network provides organisations with quantum expertise and resources, and cloud-based access to the “most advanced and scalable universal quantum computing systems available”. Access to IBM’s prototype 50 qubit machine – which the company says has hit similar performance metrics as the 20 qubit system – will be given early next year.

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