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IBM Research – Zurich (previously called IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, ZRL) is the European branch of IBM Research. It was opened in 1956 and is located in Rüschlikon, near Zurich, Switzerland.

Overview and history

In 1956, IBM opened their first European research laboratory in Adliswil, Switzerland, near Zurich. The lab moved to its own campus in neighboring Rüschlikon in 1962. The Zurich lab is staffed by a multicultural and interdisciplinary team of a few hundred permanent research staff members, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, representing about 45 nationalities. Collocated with the lab is a Client Center (formerly the Industry Solutions Lab), an executive briefing facility demonstrating technology prototypes and solutions.

The Zurich lab is world-renowned for its scientific achievements—most notably Nobel Prizes in physics in 1986 and 1987 for the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope[1] and the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity,[2] respectively. Other key inventions include trellis modulation, which revolutionized data transmission over telephone lines; Token Ring, which became a standard for local area networks and a highly successful IBM product; the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) standard used for highly secure payments; and the Java Card OpenPlatform (JCOP), a smart card operating system. Most recently the lab was involved in the development of SuperMUC, a supercomputer that is cooled using hot water.

Activities and organization

The Zurich lab focus areas are future chip technologies; nanotechnology; fibre optics; supercomputing; data storage; security and privacy; risk and compliance; business optimization and transformation; server systems. The Zurich laboratory is involved in many joint projects with universities throughout Europe, in research programs established by the European Union and the Swiss government, and in cooperation agreements with research institutes of industrial partners. One of the lab's most high-profile projects is called DOME, which is based on developing an IT roadmap for the Square Kilometer Array.

The research projects pursued at the IBM Zurich lab are organized into three scientific and technical departments: Science & Technology, Cloud and Computing Infrastructure and Cognitive Computing and Industry Solutions. The lab is currently managed by Alessandro Curioni.

On 17 May 2011, IBM and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich opened the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center, which is located on the same campus in Rüschlikon.[3]

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