The Government of Canada and IBM have announced $1.3 million in support to help establish the Visual Analytics Research and Instructional Laboratories (VIVA), a data-visualization research and training partnership between UBC and Simon Fraser University.
The announcement includes a Federal investment of $513,141 which will be used to purchase an IBM private cloud computing platform, providing students, faculty and VIVA’s industry partners with scalable, secure access to servers, storage, applications and services.
Concurrently, IBM is making an in-kind contribution of analytics software applications, valued at $800,000. The software will enable VIVA researchers to visually analyze Big Data – a term given to the abundance of information generated by a growing list of sources such as smartphones, social networks, instrumentation, GPS and sensors.
"Innovation is an important engine of economic growth and job creation; here in British Columbia we’re fortunate to have cutting-edge research labs and groundbreaking entrepreneurs," said Andrew Saxton, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, on behalf of the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.
"By partnering with industry and academic institutions, our Government is working to bridge the gap between academia, training and industry and to ensure the continued success of western Canadian businesses and our entrepreneurs."
Visual analytics is an emerging science -- companies who train employees in the field are finding the skills useful in creating practical solutions to data-related problems. IBM and VIVA are currently working with VIVA partners to apply the analysis of big data sets in a number of sectors including healthcare, aviation, insurance and oceanography.
Associate Professor Ron Rensink, jointly appointed with Computer Science and Psychology, heads UBC's VIVA team.
"Organizations are operating in a world of accelerating complexity and massively available data," said Dan Fortin, president of IBM Canada. "Our aim is to help VIVA work with its industry partners to turn that data into a strategic asset. Today's investment supports IBM's continued commitment to collaborate with academia and government to help further advance Canada’s ability to innovate, address a critical skills gap, and drive analytics research."
Media Relations Specialist, UBC Media Relations