He celebrated as SIOS officially opened the doors Thursday to its new research and development facility at the M. Bert Storey Engineering and Innovation Center at 550 Assembly St. SIOS will occupy the fourth floor of the building.
“This is a major resource for the university,” said Betty Regan, chair of the department of integrated information technology at USC. “It’s one of the ways the university creates resources. The whole idea of the building is to help form relationships between the university and the business community.”
SIOS Technology Corp., which makes software that applies artificial intelligence to improve information technology services, joins IBM and Electric Guard Dog as tenants of the building.
“This building is unique,” said Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “As federal funding goes down, industry takes a bigger share of our research, especially in engineering and computing.”
SIOS has offices in San Mateo, Calif., and Boston. Melnick said the company chose Columbia because of the energy of the community and university.
“Searching for over two years, it was hard to understand how we would find the right home for our endeavors,” Melnick said. “With the energy developed here we can build a home, and brighter future through relationships with USC and neighborhoods.”
SIOS is giving the university a $475,000 software grant that includes artificial intelligence machinery and software for IT operations and automation.
“This is an area that is rapidly expanding and advancing,” Regan said. “The software will be integrated into the classroom by our faculty. This area of computing is advancing in many domains whether it is health care of manufacturing. It connects into the whole world of the internet of things.”
USC President Harris Pastides called the collaboration an inspiration for students.
“It gives them a chance to see, after graduation, hope to stay and work in Columbia,” Pastides said. “AI is the most explosive area our students ask about. Students can come here and spend time with professionals to learn real world experiences and what the impact can be.”
Haj-Hariri called the partnership a potential supply chain of workers for SIOS.
“The company can do a nine-month interview of these kids, and at the end pick the best ones for getting jobs,” Haj-Hariri said. “Our faculty is also on board with conducting research on relevant problems in the industry. After a few years of getting to know our students, the next stage will be funding research, supporting graduate students and working more closely with the faculty.”
The R&D facility in Columbia is expected to employ between 25-30 people. In addition, the former SIOS office in Lexington, which featured management consulting services, will be closed.