Westchester County has always been a thriving economic center, and hopes to remain one well into the future. Ensuring Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley remain vital business hubs requires planning, and the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council is working to make that happen.
The council is one of 10 formed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to review projects and determine which will get state funding. The governor has allotted $800 million, pooled from various state agencies, to fund business development projects.
The Mid-Hudson Council this month released a draft strategic plan to identify several such projects in our area. One ambitious possibility explored establishes a life science “incubator” in the region that offers start-up firms low-cost, well-equipped lab space as well as business support and access to a broader biological research infrastructure. Also discussed was an idea to create a “natural infrastructure” strategy, combining agriculture, tourism, and the environment as quality of life attributes that are critical to attracting and retaining high-quality jobs for all key industry sectors.
The council also added that the rebuilding of the Tappan Zee Bridge should be a prominent part of any state stimulus plan.
Meanwhile, science and technology were also themes at Iona College earlier this month as Dr. David Ferrucci, an IBM fellow and the principal investigator of IBM’s DeepQA project and the Watson super-computer, discussed artificial intelligence as part of the college’s Thomas G. Bullen, CFC Memorial Lecture Series in Science and Technology.
Named after Thomas Watson, IBM’s first president, Watson is an artificial intelligence computer system that is capable of answering questions in natural language. Earlier this year, Watson competed on Jeopardy—the show’s only human vs. machine competition to date—and beat the all-time biggest winner on the show.
Ferrucci has been at IBM’s T. J. Watson’s Research Center since 1995, where he heads the Semantic Analysis and Integration Department. He focuses on technologies for automatically discovering valuable knowledge in natural language content and using it to enable better decision-making.
Also, a special note of recognition is due to employees of the Tarrytown House Estate, who recently walked in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising event held at Manhattanville College in Purchase. The team raised $2,200, the best showing in the three years that the Estate has been supporting this cause.