The lobby of the Asian Institute of Management started filling up before 11 a.m. of 08 March 2017. The main building was transformed by the taupe motif and French-inspired table settings, which provided a subdued counterpoint to the bright lights and AIM-blue LED display. By noon, the place was packed to capacity.
Media from all the leading newspapers, television networks, and online publications came to witness the unveiling of AIM’s first data science corporate laboratory, christened ACCeSs@AIM, which is short for Analytics, Computing, and Complex Systems Laboratory.
The R&D facility, the first of its kind in the Philippines, is equipped with a 500-teraflop Acer supercomputer. ACCeSs@AIM is envisioned to bridge public-private R&D collaboration to develop solutions that address business and societal issues. It is designed to become a center of excellence in data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computational modeling.
“It is the concrete step AIM decided to take to improve the economy of developing countries in Asean, especially the Philippines ― to promote partnerships that will directly impact businesses, society, and communities,” said Professor Christopher Monterola, ACCeSs@AIM Executive Managing Director.
Monterola, who also heads AIM’s School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, added that the lab will be used to train the next generation of data science leaders so they can ask the right questions. The Institute had launched the Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) program last year, the first formal graduate data science degree program in the Philippines.
The MSDS program, led by Academic Program Director and renowned Filipino data scientist Erika Legara, began classes for its inaugural batch on 05 March 2018.
500 Teraflops of Computing Power
The lab’s major feature, the Acer supercomputer, 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 Honorary Chairman, Stan Shih. The Acer founder also belongs to the AIM Board of Governors.
“In today’s digital era, data has become the new currency of businesses; but only if organizations know how to use it,” Shih pointed out.
"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.
According to AIM President and Dean, Dr. Jikyeong Kang, enabling data scientists to work closely with domain experts and individuals familiar with business and management issues will create a collaborative ecosystem where business meets data science. She said, “The goal is to empower managers, government leaders, and policymakers to make data-driven decisions.”
Speaking to the capacity crowd, ACCeSs@AIM’s Monterola drove home the point that aside from being a research facility, the lab was really designed for AIM’s MSDS students to be exposed to real world problems. “They will learn data science by experiencing what it takes to be a good data scientist. In learning pedagogy, this is referred to as experiential learning,” he explained.
Among the organizations that have partnered with the MSDS program to create the next batch of data science leaders are (in alphabetical order), the Aboitiz Group, ATRAM, Ayala Corporation, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Mynt, Security Bank, SM Group, and UnitedHealth Group / Savvysherpa.
Professor Monterola further said that, after benefitting from AIM’s mentors and on-premise facilities, and on completing their degree, students will have a better appreciation of the term “intelligence” when linked to the word “business.”
“It is certainly not easy to find properly trained data scientists, in the Philippines or elsewhere; and this shortage of talent will continue if we do not do something about it. I know many of our partners share this pain point,” he said.
According to Professor Monterola, in three to five years’ time, most companies will be hiring a whole new C-Suite. “ACCeSs@AIM and the MSDS program hope to provide the region with well trained, proactive, future data science leaders ― the next Chief Data Officers, Chief Information Officers, and even Chief Executive Officers,” he concluded.
BPO industry should not fear AI, says Acer executive ― ABS-CBN News
First data science lab in the PHL launched ― GMA News Online
AIM opens first data science corporate laboratory in PH ― Newsbytes.ph
Deep Philippine Market Shi Zhenrong (Stan Shih): expanding new business opportunities ― Central News Agency
AIM opens first data science corporate laboratory ― Brand Magazine
Acer, AIM jointly inaugurate corporate research lab in Philippines ― Focus Taiwan News Channel
AIM, Acer launch PH’s 1st data science corporate lab ― Philippine News Agency
AIM Opens PH’s First Data Science Corporate Laboratory ― TeknoGadyet
AIM, Acer open 1st Data Science Corporate Lab in PHL ― Good News Pilipinas
AIM launches 1st data science corp lab ― Manila Standard
AIM, Acer launch PH’s 1st data science corporate lab ― Philippine Canadian Inquirer
AIM Opens First Data Science Corporate Laboratory ― Gadgets Magazine
AIM to produce highly-trained data scientists ― Upgrade Magazine