Contact Information

Solomon Assefa
Director, IBM Research - Africa, South Africa Lab
Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY USA

Solomon is currently the Director of IBM Research – Africa in South Africa. He is leading the lab by defining strategy, executing R&D projects, hiring top-notch scientists, and fostering an innovation ecosystem. The lab is advancing science and developing breakthrough technologies by gathering experts in decision analytics, artificial intelligence, internet-of-things, human-computer interaction, cloud computing, and other domain-specific and interdisciplinary fields.

Previously, he was the Director of Research Strategy & Growth Initiatives for Africa. In that role, he developed research strategies by identifying emerging trends, developing human capital, and enabling expansion of IBM Research in Africa. He has also served as a Program Manager in the office of Science and Technology, with responsibilities for evaluating science and technology roadmaps for IBM’s worldwide research laboratories.

As a Research Scientist, Solomon has worked on IBM’s nanophotonics technology with responsibilities spanning research, development, and technology transfer to commercial foundry. His research contributions include high-speed optical detectors, nano-structured platforms for bio-sensing, and quantum information processing. He has co-authored over 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, has over 50 patents, and has appeared as a guest speaker at numerous conferences worldwide. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, Forbes, Technology Review, EE Times, and IEEE Spectrum, among many others.

Solomon is a member of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He is also a Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences. He has served as committee chair and workshop organizer for various conferences including the Optical Fibers Conference (OFC) and Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO).

Solomon is a recipient of several awards including the Technical Accomplishment Award, Corporate Recognition Award, and Invention Achievement Awards from IBM. He is a frequent speaker at business events, international conferences, universities, and research institutions. He was named one of the World’s Top Young Innovators under 35 and received the TR35 awarded by MIT’s Technology Review (2011). Solomon was honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2013. He received a B.S. in Physics (2001), a B.S. in EECS (2001), a M.S. in EECS (2001) and a Ph.D. (2004) all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).