AIM opens first data science corporate laboratory in PH

The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) has opened the first corporate laboratory in the country, with an Acer supercomputer serving as the centerpiece of the facility.

Photo shows (from L-R) Erika Legara, deputy director of ACCeSs@AIM; Stan Shih, founder of Acer Group and chairman of StanShih Foundation; Jikyeong Kang, president and dean of AIM; Chris Monterola, head of AIM-SITE and ACCeSs@AIM; Maverick Shih, president of BYOC Smart Product, Acer Inc.

Called the Analytics, Computing, and Complex Systems Laboratory or ACCeSs@AIM, the R&D facility promotes the use of data science, artificial intelligence, and computational models to help various industries, government agencies, and other sectors address critical issues and pain points.

A major feature of the lab is the Acer supercomputer, which ranks among the fastest in the Asean region with computing speeds of up to 500 teraflops and a capacity of 500 terabytes.

The supercomputer was donated through StanShih Foundation, led by Acer founder and honorary chairman Stan Shih, who was personally on hand to witness the opening of the lab.

Led by some of the country’s top data scientists, the ACCeSs@AIM seeks to train the next set of data scientists who are expected to contribute to the growth of Asian businesses, societies, and the Philippine economy.

“We want to train the next generation of data science leaders to ask the right questions, as well as mine, refine, and convert data into information that will greatly benefit businesses and communities in the era of Industry 4.0,” explained Christopher Monterola, ACCeSs@AIM executive managing director.

The laboratory intends to promote partnerships among industry various stakeholders to develop projects that will directly impact businesses, society, and communities. By using computing and modelling techniques as strategic resources, the collaborations are expected to enhance competitiveness of the country.

“In today’s digital era, data has become the new currency of businesses, but only if organizations know how to use it,” said Stan Shih.

“Data science turns these complex pieces of information into an organization’s competitive advantage, so we need to cultivate this skill in future business leaders. This supercomputer powered by Acer is a major tool in addressing that gap for today’s students. Aside from supporting the academe, this instrument also aims to fuel the practice of established data scientists.” Shih added.

The Acer supercomputer at ACCeSs@AIM

According to AIM president and dean Jikyeong Kang, “By enabling data scientists to work closely with domain experts and individuals familiar with business and management issues, ACCeSs@AIM will create a collaborative ecosystem where business acumen meets data science skill sets. The goal is to empower managers, government leaders, and policymakers to make data-driven decisions.”

The lab complements the AIM’s Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) program, the first formal data science Master’s Program in the Philippines, and among the first in Asean. MSDS falls under AIM’s School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship of which Monterola is also the head.

Monterola pointed out that AIM’s MSDS program can be described as world-class on three fronts: the caliber of its faculty and mentors, who combine business insights and practical experience; the challenging data problems students will tackle given the partnerships with different top organizations; and lab work via ACCeSs@AIM.

The laboratory will provide a venue for practical application for AIM’s MSDS students. The MSDS program, led by academic program director and renowned Filipino data scientist Erika Legara, began classes for its inaugural batch on March 5, 2018.

“By the time they complete their degree with us, our students will have a better appreciation of the term ‘intelligence’ when linked to the word ‘business,’” Monterola said.

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