Cognizant launches state-of-the-art San Francisco lab to boost enterprise AI adoption

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Cognizant, a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process services, has launched a dedicated AI lab that promises to galvanize the commercialization of artificial intelligence technologies. The initiative is a response to the growing demand for AI solutions and the dissatisfaction many executives feel about their company’s progress in this area.

Babak Hodjat, Cognizant’s chief technical officer of AI, outlined the impetus behind the lab’s creation during a recent interview with VentureBeat. “We’re at a pivotal moment when the commercialization of AI is exploding,” said Hodjat. He cited the in-depth knowledge and expertise Cognizant has in client solutions, which, combined with dozens of patents, provides a solid foundation for the lab’s mission to develop cutting-edge IP and AI solutions.

Strategic location and expert staffing

Cognizant’s AI lab, based in San Francisco, is set to differentiate the company in a competitive market by its focus on innovation in AI systems and technologies. The lab is staffed by a team of top researchers and developers, including many AI pioneers and Ph.D. holders. The company boasts an impressive portfolio of 75 issued and pending patents that lay the groundwork for innovation.

Hodjat explained how the lab would not only focus on AI for modernization but also on guiding and supporting AI’s application in business, saying, “Many enterprises are focused on AI’s potential for modernization, and while that continues to be very important, Cognizant is launching this lab to advance the equally important innovation and research that’s crucial to guiding and supporting AI’s application in business.”

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Leveraging AI expertise for clients

With 18 researchers and developers currently on board, plans are underway to triple the lab’s staff and bring in other functions this year. The lab is also set to increase the number of interns to leverage fresh perspectives on core AI research.

The lab’s current projects reflect a broad vision for AI’s role in decision-making and productivity. Hodjat shared insights into the lab’s research directions, emphasizing the modeling of uncertainty and the complexity of multi-objective decision-making processes. Cognizant is actively exploring these areas, holding patents related to them and focusing on how AI can serve to make better decisions by understanding the certainty of its predictions.

Collaboration forms a cornerstone of the lab’s strategy. Cognizant has forged ties with academic institutions such as the Brain Dynamics Lab at Stanford University School of Medicine and works under the supervision of AI Professor Risto Miikkulainen from the University of Texas at Austin. These partnerships aim to strengthen core AI research and make the lab an attractive destination for AI Ph.D. graduates and interns.

Moreover, the lab is a critical component of Cognizant’s broader investment strategy. Hodjat connected the lab’s role to Cognizant’s $1 billion investment in generative AI, which is expected to significantly contribute to the US GDP and social mobility by 2032. “The lab is part of the commitment Cognizant announced last year to invest $1 billion in generative AI over the next three years,” Hodjat stated.

Leveraging AI expertise for clients

Cognizant’s move to invest heavily in AI research and development through its new lab in San Francisco is a strategic play in the rapidly growing AI market. The company’s focus on innovation and its partnerships with academia and startups position it to be a leader in the responsible development and application of AI technologies. Cognizant is betting big on AI’s potential to bridge the digital divide and enhance productivity, which may very well redefine the future of work and business decision-making.

In the business landscape, Cognizant’s investment in AI signals the company’s commitment to maintaining a competitive edge in technology services and consulting. The establishment of the AI lab is expected to further solidify the company’s position as a thought leader in the AI space while offering advanced solutions to meet the evolving needs of global enterprises. As companies across industries increasingly seek to leverage AI to gain a strategic advantage, Cognizant’s emphasis on innovation and applied research could prove pivotal in shaping the trajectory of AI development and its integration into business processes.

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