IBM Research | Haifa

Dr. Aya Soffer, VP AI Technologies for IBM Research and Director of IBM Research – Haifa

Aya Soffer, Vice-President and Lab Director

IBM Research – Haifa employs researchers in a number of strategic areas, including artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud, security, blockchain, the future of health, and quantum. As director of the lab, Aya works with the local teams to set and propose the Research strategy in these areas and also focuses on the technical vitality of the lab. She is also responsible for the lab’s position in the Israeli hi-tech ecosystem, which includes academic and research institutes, multinational corporations with operations in Israel, and Israeli corporations with a global presence, as well as with VC-backed startups. The lab enjoys wide collaboration with academic and industry organizations outside Israel, in particular, in Europe.

As the Vice President of AI Technologues, Aya focuses on natural language understanding and conversational systems and their application in customer care and other enterprise applications. In this role, she is responsible for setting the strategy and working with IBM scientists around the world to shape their ideas into new AI technology, and with IBM’s product groups and customers to drive Research innovation into the market.

In her 21 years at IBM, Dr. Soffer has led several strategic initiatives that grew into successful IBM products and solutions in the Big Data and AI space including the original Watson system and more recently Project Debater. She has authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers, filed over 15 patents, and served as an invited speaker in many conferences.

Dr. Soffer received her MS and PhD degrees in computer science from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1992 and 1995, respectively. Before joining IBM in 1999, she was a research scientist at Goddard space flight center, where she worked on digital libraries for earth science data.