Alibaba invested $15 billion to set up the Academy for DAMO

Alibaba Group Holding Limited is investing US$15 billion to set up research laboratories around the world. The e-commerce giant headquartered in Hangzhou on Wednesday announced it has launched a new research institute dubbed "Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook" (DAMO) which includes seven new research labs in China, the United States, Russia, Israel and Singapore.

Tinuku Alibaba invested $15 billion to set up the Academy for DAMO

Alibaba said it invested US$15 billion in research and development over the next three years. Academy for DAMO will handle a number of different areas, including quantum computing, fintech, human-machine interaction, network security, and natural language processing. DAMO will also include internal research teams in Alibaba, Ant Financial and Cainiao.

"Many researchers need real data and cases to do their research. Alibaba has many cases of this business and will work closely with researchers to solve it," said Jeff Zhang, chief technology officer at Alibaba and head of DAMO.

Zhang said DAMO will recruit around 100 researchers from around the world to develop technologies that can be applied to Alibaba's business, including about big data and artificial intelligence as part of Alibaba Cloud service.

DAMO also plans to partner with universities including the University of Berkeley for specific research domains. The Academy has formed an advisory board of professors around the world including Harvard's leading geneticist George Church.

Over the past few years tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Baidu have been racing to set up an AI lab. Alibaba has its own AI Laboratory to develop the Tmall Genie which was launched in July. This year they also recruited ex-Amazon scientist Ren Xiaofeng to lead the Institute of Data Science and Technologies.