Recognizing the opportunities Big Data presents, IBM, Astron and the University of Groningen will establish the European Research Center for Exascale Technology (ERCET) in the northern part of the Netherlands. The King's Commissioner for the province of Groningen, Max van den Berg, who attended the signing stated: "With the signing of the agreement, ERCET has formally laid a foundation to give a strong boost to the northern Dutch economy in the field of Big Data."
"With ERCET, the northern Netherlands will take a leading role both nationally and internationally, to rightfully earn itself the title of Data Industry Valley", stated Marco de Vos, managing director of Astron. "We view this as an extension of our own collaboration with IBM in terms of both the use of the technology, but just as importantly, how the knowledge is developed and shared."
Based on the early successes of projects DOME - a collaboration between IBM and Astron, focusing on astronomy and Big Data - and TARGET of UoG, Astron, University Medical Center Groningen, IBM and other partners, scientists from UoG, IBM and Astron will collaborate on a series of Big Data project proposals that are expected to impact Dutch society and citizens around the world over the next several decades, including:
"I am pleased with the public private agreement signed by IBM, Astron and the University of Groningen", stated Ard van der Tuuk, Regional Minister in the province of Drenthe. "I view ERCET as an extension of the DOME project, which is already based in north. This is a chance to expand the project and safeguard knowledge valorisation and employment for this region on a long-term basis."
Jan de Jeu, vice president of the University of Groningen, stated: "With ERCET, international top research into systems, materials and methods for processing large amounts of data faster, more energy efficiently and above all more intelligently, is linked to the northern innovation agenda. This link will further strengthen the innovative power of data industry in the northern Netherlands over the next years."
"The interesting aspect of Big Data is that when you solve the challenges for one industry the same solution can be replicated elsewhere", stated Ton Engbersen, project leader, IBM Research. "The machine learning and cognitive algorithms we are developing to analyze the data from deep space are just as important for predicting flooding and forecasting energy demand."
Several companies and research institutes from across the northern Dutch axis of Groningen-Assen will also join ERCET in the coming months, benefiting from a unique shared knowledge platform. Groningen-Assen was selected for ERCET due to its already strong base in the northern region with research institutes and IT. Officials hope that in addition to world-class research ERCET will create a strong industrial research stream, accelerating the application of new insights and technologies to new products and processes.