Brazil Wins Competition for IBM's New Lab

Brazil won recognition of its technological prowess this week when computer giant IBM Corp. said it has chosen the country to host IBM's ninth global research center. IBM said it plans to tap Brazil's scientific talent, rapidly growing economy, and offshore oil discoveries.

IBM, which employs about 3000 researchers, will add 100 in Brazil, establishing its first permanent research base in Latin America. IBM last opened a new research center 12 years ago in India. Robert Morris, a vice president of service research at IBM, said the company's "Smarter Planet" strategy, an expansion away from a pure computing business, is "prompting us to move into new countries and new fields."

One focus of the new laboratory will be in oil and gas exploration. Brazil has discovered large off-shore oil deposits, located in deep-sea locations under kilometers of water and salt. "The geology is very irregular, and so when you do the seismology, the sounding, it's incredibly challenging from the computing perspective," Morris said. The lab will also work on software related to mega events; Brazil will host the 2014 soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics.