Using Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living

Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

San Diego, Calif., Oct. 5, 2017 -- “UC San Diego is a community of changemakers and innovators,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla Sept. 28 as he welcomed a crowd in Atkinson Hall at the IBM-UC San Diego signing ceremony celebration. “It is not an exaggeration to say that at this campus, which in its short time of 57 years is the top ten in the country and top 15 in the world, we must have done something right. And I think what we did right was really understand how to solve problems that impact humanity on a day-to-day basis. This partnership that we are putting in place right now, and we are here to celebrate, is actually addressing one of those problems.”

UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla and John Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research, sign a multiyear commitment to enhance quality of life and independence for aging populations.

IBM Research and the University of California San Diego have announced a multiyear commitment to enhance quality of life and independence for aging populations through the new Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center (AIHL), located on the campus of UC San Diego. The groundbreaking center will bring together the technology, cognitive and life sciences strengths of IBM and UC San Diego to promote critical research and applications in two thematic areas: Healthy Aging and the Human Microbiome. The Center is led by computer science professors Tajana Rosing and Rob Knight, who also has an appointment in the UC San Diego School of Medicine. 

This collaboration is part of the IBM Cognitive Horizons Network, an international consortium of leading universities working to develop technologies needed to fulfill the promise of cognitive computing. According to the National Institute on Aging, cognitive health—the ability to clearly think, learn and remember—is an important component of brain health.

“We believe that we are entering a whole new era of computing, a cognitive era where it won't be about programming, it will be about learning machines—artificial intelligence systems,” shared John Kelly III, IBM senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research.

“So why then UC San Diego and IBM?” he said. “First of all, we both believe in innovation. And we put our money where our mouth is. We each spend billions of dollars doing research in very very important areas. Secondly, I realized when I met with the Chancellor that he and the leadership of UC San Diego are different. You are aggressive, you see the world the way we see it and you want to partner.”

Rob Knight, co-director of the Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center and a leader of the Human Microbiome research theme, spoke at the signing ceremony. 

Supported by a five-year, $10 million commitment from IBM and backed by $6.3 million in direct and in-kind matches from UC San Diego, this collaborative research initiative will use artificial intelligence to comb through massive amounts of data to enable healthier living. Funds will be used to support faculty research; trainee stipends, including opportunities for UC San Diego graduate and undergraduate students; administrative support; equipment; and corporate affiliation.

Over the course of five years, this project will, for the first time, study in depth the impact that daily habits, the environment, genetics and the microbiome have on the cognition of older adults. The project will model the subtle changes of aging, and will deploy personalized interventions via cognitive robots to support wellness. The ultimate goal is to enable older adults to live independently longer and have a higher quality of life.

Chancellor Khosla welcomes guest speaker Kristin Gaspar, County of San Diego Supervisor.

Guest speaker Kristin Gaspar, County of San Diego Supervisor added, “This collaboration perfectly complements the fabric of San Diego ... San Diego County and the city have a long history of driving to improve the health and wellness of our citizens. This partnership will serve as an important catalyst to continually improving health care as our baby boomers get older.”

The IBM-UC San Diego initiative will bring together the campus’ top researchers in computer science, cognitive science, engineering and medicine, including psychiatry. For a listing of faculty participants and more information, visit the Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center (AIHL) webpage.

Media Contacts

Judy Piercey
University Communications

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