Huawei embarks on big data research push with Imperial College

Data-related terms in the shape of a cloud

Chinese networking vendor Huawei has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Imperial College to develop a research and innovation centre that will look into the next-generation of big data technologies.

With assistance from the UK government, the two organisations plan to collaborate on a joint R&D hub, enabling academic researchers and business experts to collectively develop innovations and applications in research areas including digital, energy, healthcare, future cities and life sciences.

The centre will focus on the emergent field of data science as Imperial and Huawei look to harness the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs around big data and translate them into real world applications.

The joint centre would be located on Imperial’s new research and translation campus, Imperial West, in White City, West London.

Under the terms of the MoU, Imperial and Huawei have also agreed to spend a year exploring other opportunities for collaboration over the next decade, and a joint working party will be established to determine the next stages of the partnership.

Options being considered include a ‘Huawei-Imperial Joint Innovation Centre’ suite, which would be used by Imperial researchers, students and Huawei staff as a meeting workspace.

“Imperial is one of the world’s great universities and I am delighted to begin this relationship. We intend for this Memorandum of Understanding to lead to a significant partnership in London and to reinforce our commitment to the UK,” said William Xu, chief executive of the enterprise business group at Huawei.

“R&D has always been a top priority for Huawei and this continues to be the case as we expand our UK operations. Imperial College is a leader in global academic research, and the skills and expertise of the university will be invaluable in the development and success of Huawei Innovation Europe,” Xu said.

Sir Keith O’Nions, president and rector of Imperial College London, said: “Imperial and Huawei share a commitment to translating research, innovation and developing next generation data science technology for the benefit of society and the economy. This parallels Imperial College’s broader vision for Imperial West.”

Government ministers were quick to praise the collaboration efforts. “Huawei’s decision to collaborate with Imperial College London will keep the UK as a global leader in big data. As one of the eight great technologies of the future, big data will allow scientists to research and analyse large information sets to support new innovations across industries such as space, bioscience and healthcare,” said David Willetts MP, Universities and Science Minister.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.