Aya Soffer


Aya Soffer


Vice President, AI Technologies; Director, IBM Research - Israel


IBM Research - Israel Haifa, Israel


In her role as VP of AI Technologies, Dr. Soffer 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.

As director of IBM Research – Israel, Dr. Soffer oversees research and strategy in a number of strategic areas, including artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud, security, blockchain, the future of health, and quantum. She helps set IBM Research strategy in these areas and provides guidance for the local adaptation of these strategies in Haifa. Dr. Soffer 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.

In her years at IBM since joining in 1999, 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 numerous conferences.