The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will open a “Living Lab” in Adelaide’s innovation precinct, Lot Fourteen. Living Labs are research facilities that enable collaboration between public, private and research sectors, MIT’s focus on big data.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced the agreement yesterday.

Adelaide is the first Australian based MIT Living Lab. The American computer science university has Similar Living Labs in New York, Beijing and Istanbul, focusing on technical issues and social implications of big data.

The Adelaide location, Lot Fourteen, is the state’s “innovation neighbourhood”, focused on digital business and technology like artificial intelligence, cyber security, smart sensor networks, robotics, big data, defence and space technologies.

“We identified Adelaide early on as the prime location for a Living Lab in Australia and the broader region due do its leadership in data analytics and machine learning,” said Alex Pentland, a Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT.

Premier Marshall said the new facility will help make Adelaide a global hub for innovation.

“The Living Lab means local researchers will have access to invaluable data to identify how we can drive sustainable population growth, create jobs and strengthen our economy,” Marshall said.

“Furthermore, it will bolster South Australia’s entrepreneurial activity across a range of industries and ensure that this state remains at the forefront of global innovation and enterprise.

BankSA is the new Living Lab’s principal partner and Optus Business is technology partner.

The main challenge MIT Living Labs are tackling is data silos, according to the university. It believes by opening up data repositories, it can uncover new insights to improve wellness and sustainability outcomes, and also encourage innovation and learning.

In the past MIT Living Labs have examined student behaviour through IoT sensors, levels of student collaboration, and campus traffic patterns.

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