Knowledge is power. That was said half a millennium ago and it still stands to this day. We can now quantify and even qualify that knowledge. Data science and artificial intelligence (DSAI) is the means through which we purposefully and thoughtfully harness the power of knowledge to create a data-driven tomorrow. That is what the Aboitiz Group is doing as it embarks on its Great Transformation to become the Philippines’ first Techglomerate, driven by technology and a reinvigorated entrepreneurial spirit.
Barely three years ago, the Aboitiz Group, through the Aboitiz Foundation, made a historic donation of US$10 million to the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) to address the local and regional gap in data science and innovation. The Aboitiz 100th Anniversary Commitment Fund donated to AIM in 2019 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Aboitiz Group, simultaneously honoring the past century of industry excellence while also looking ahead to the future. The fund’s purpose was to foster and prepare the workforce of tomorrow by supporting degree programs, professional chairs, student loan programs, and sites and facilities.
Through this generous donation, AIM’s Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (ASITE) continues to meet the demand of data science professionals and leaders head-on by conducting world-class research with real-world applications. Last September, AIM ASITE welcomed its third cohort of nine students for its Ph.D. in Data Science program. It is the first of its kind in the Philippines and one of only a handful in all of Asia, attracting the country’s most brilliant and exciting data scientists.
“Innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship are important in any company or country because it not only leads to progress but also allows for developing new products and services that improve people’s lives. The Aboitiz Group’s donation to AIM ASITE supports the organization’s efforts to promote innovation, inspire real-world learning, and help ensure that the Philippines remains competitive in the global market,” said Aboitiz Foundation President and COO Maribeth L. Marasigan.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world, AIM ASITE students and graduates were able to harness the power of data science to develop solutions for pressing issues. When the phrase “contact tracing” entered our everyday lexicon, AIM ASITE, the Aboitiz Group, and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) spearheaded the development of automated and technologically advanced techniques for contract tracing of Pasig, Mandaluyong, Rizal, Valenzuela, Taytay.
As the country continues to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, contact tracing data from partner local government units continue to be stored and processed through AIM ASITE’s Analytics, Computing, and Complex Systems (ACCeSs@AIM) Laboratory’s supercomputer “Super Jojie.” Jojie is the country’s most powerful artificial intelligence supercomputer at 1.2 PetaFlops and one of the most powerful in the ASEAN region. “Super Jojie” was donated by Acer Co-Founder and Honorary Chairman Stan Shih.
In February 2022, ACCeSS@AIM partnered with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the University of the Philippines–Baguio, and the local government of Baguio City to launch Project MINERVA to create a smart city data hub and visualization platform. This propelled Baguio City towards becoming a premiere example of a smart city, not just in the country but in the world, harnessing data science and artificial intelligence to manage critical assets such as water supply while monitoring air quality and urban mobility in an integrated manner.
“The US$10 million donated by the Aboitiz Foundation was a pivotal moment in the development and advancement of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science, not just in the Philippines, but in the greater Asia-Pacific region. We are humbled that our initiatives and success stories have recaptured the industry, government, and academe’s imagination to work together to improve operations, accelerate innovation, and ultimately, drive nation-building,” said ASITE Head and ACCeSs@AIM Executive Managing Director Acd. Chris Monterola, PhD.
These are just a few of the industry and government collaborations that the researchers and students of AIM ASITE get involved in as they shape and advance society. With a strong track record of leading data science projects and publishing in top-tiered journals in just three years since its inception, the Ph.D. in Data Science program of AIM ASITE is on track to develop world-class data science leaders. Through this endeavor, the Aboitiz Group dares to break new ground by leveraging modern technologies and, most importantly, inspiring individuals.