Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Monday, March 1, 2021
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IBM, Palantir Partner on AI Apps in the Cloud 

IBM and data analytics software vendor Palantir Technologies Inc. will release a cloud data platform in March designed to deploy AI-based applications built around Watson.

The service, dubbed Palantir for IBM Cloud Pak for Data, will run on Red Hat OpenShift, enabling hybrid cloud deployments, the partners said Monday (Feb. 8). It also integrates Palantir’s Foundry operations platform designed to integrate data management with analytics.

Integration with IBM Watson AI would add data and AI infrastructure that includes data governance. The resulting AI-based applications could be used for predictive analytics or for automating tasks and business processes.

IBM’s Cloud Pak service includes an AutoAI feature designed to automate tedious but essential machine learning tasks such as data preparation, model selection and optimization.

The partners said they would target the AI application foundry at financial services, healthcare, retail and the telecommunications sectors. Retail implementations could for example help track supply and demand of popular products by integrating scattered data.

The AI partnership with IBM is the latest in a series by Palantir, which recently extended collaboration with BP while entering the Japanese market through a Foundry distribution deal with Fujitsu Ltd. The Japanese company (OTCMKTS: FJTSY) uses the Foundry platform to upgrade its hardware supply chain.

Palantir and BP announced an extended partnership last week that commits the energy company (NYSE: BP) to use Palantir’s data analytics tools for an additional five years. Those tools would be used for optimizing renewable energy projects ranging from solar and wind generation to electric charging stations.

Among the uses cited by IBM in developing AI applications using Watson and Foundry is helping merged financial institutions sort out fragmented data and application processes. Palantir Foundry running on IBM Cloud Pak for Data is promoted as enabling rapid data integration, de-duplication and mapping to common data models.

Citing internal research, IBM said about one-third of customers seeking to implement AI technology are limited by lack of expertise along with data complexity and siloed operations. Another barrier to AI adoption and scaling is lack of tools for developing machine learning models, a gap IBM and Palantir will seek to close with their cloud AI and data partnership.

Industry observers noted the partnership makes IBM’s Watson AI software more accessible to customers via hybrid cloud deployments based on Red Hat OpenShift. In exchange, Palantir gains access to IBM’s large sales force.

Shares of Denver-based Palantir (NYSE: PLTR) jumped nearly 11 percent on news of the cloud AI agreement with IBM (NYSE: IBM).

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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