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Comment IIOT Chemical

Evonik deepens partnership with IBM to accelerate AI implementation

By Mary Page Bailey |

Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany) has expanded its cooperation with IBM in the field of digitization. The two companies extend their strategic partnership ahead of schedule until 2025. Taking this decision early creates more opportunities for longer-term projects.

Furthermore, Evonik will be involved in the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Evonik is the world’s first chemical company to participate at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab.

In this unique interplaying at the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, experts from academia and industry are investigating the potential uses and effects of artificial intelligence. “Bright minds from science and business are working jointly together on digital progress. We are delighted to be part of it,” says Henrik Hahn, chief digital officer (CDO) of Evonik.

AI is a useful tool for innovation and improvements in the chemical industry. Evonik looks forward to joining the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and its advisory board to contribute its ideas and applications across materials discovery, formulation technology, knowledge management and market analysis to advance overall applications of AI in the chemical industry. “The work on artificial intelligence is also a litmus test of what digital systems can do: For example, we are looking at how decisions can be made better, more systematically and faster with the help of algorithms,” says Hahn. “Ultimately, it’s about the value AI can add to the company,” he says.

Hahn takes a positive view of the strategic partnership with IBM, which has already been active since 2017: “The joint work has helped to drive forward digital transformation in a targeted manner. Evonik sees itself as a pioneer in digitization in the chemical industry. Our partnership with IBM and our new commitment to the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab further substantiate this claim.”

As part of the partnership, Evonik and IBM have already investigated new possibilities to create a collaborative intelligence between humans and machines, in pilot projects. Experts no longer have to search for valuable information like for a needle in a haystack. Instead, decades of knowledge are now easy to search and to analyze intuitively. New connections between data can now be found. Chemist can intuitively explore and compare formulations and their related properties to come up with ideas for new products.

Evonik and IBM have also succeeded in building Artificial Intelligence that will further accelerate the research for new materials. In close collaboration with IBM Research a Deep Neural Network was developed and trained that predicts properties or new formulations for high-performance polymers. These predictions help researchers like a compass pointing them in promising directions for new products and customer solutions.

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