The Alibaba DAMO Academy (阿里巴巴达摩院) is a research and development institute established by Chinese tech company Alibaba in 2017.
Alibaba’s Chief Technology Officer Zhang Jiangfeng ( 张建锋) announced the launch of the academy at the company’s annual Yunqi Conference ( 云栖大会) on 11 October 2017, outlining a three year investment of 100 billion yuan.
The name “Damo” is a reference to a martial arts school in the novels of Chinese fantasy writer Jin Yong, while Alibaba says it also serves as an acronym for “Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook.”
At the time of its unveiling Alibaba founder Jack Ma outlined three goals for the academy, being to “live longer than Alibaba,” “service a global population of 2 billion people,” and “use science and technology to solve problems of the future.”
The academy is intended to be an international research undertaking with offices and laboratories in Beijing, Hangzhou, Singapore, Israel, San Mateo, Bellevue and Moscow, initial plans to recruit at least 100 leading scientists and researchers.
Damo launched its official website in September 2018, which describes five research areas and ancillary laboratories, including a laboratory devoted to blockchain technology.
The five key research areas of the Alibaba DAMO Academy are:
- Artificial intelligence;
- The X Lab.
Key experts recruited by the Alibaba DAMO Academy:
- Gao Wen (高文): Head of the Digital Media Faculty at Peking University;
- Wang Gang (王刚): head of DAMO’s Smart Transport Laboratory and formerly a tenured professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
- Jiang Guofei (蒋国飞): head of DAMO fintech research and the bio-identification laboratory. Vice-president of Ant Financial, and former vice-president at NEC.
- Zhang Hui (张辉): head of DAMO’s blockchain laboratory. IEEE member, and previously an executive at NEC Labs America.
- Shi Yaoyun (施尧耘): head of DAMO’s quantum laboratory. Formerly a researcher at the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter at the California Institute of Technology, as well as founder of cross-disciplinary team at Alibaba responsible for quantum computing research.
- Chen Lijuan (陈丽娟):head of DAMo’s artificial intelligence laboratory. One of Taobao’s first product managers, and the head of the Taobao product team. Responsible for establishing Alibaba’s artificial intelligence lab in 2016.