Cognizant opens AI lab in San Francisco

  • March 12, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson
Babak Hodjat (left) and Risto Miikkulainen.

Cognizant has opened an artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory in San Francisco to develop intellectual property and AI-enablement technologies.

Staffed by researchers and developers, including AI pioneers and PhDs, the lab will collaborate with research institutions, customers and start-ups, and already has 75 issued and pending patents that provide a foundation on which to build. The lab is part of the commitment Cognizant announced last year to invest $1bn in generative AI over the next three years.

The launch of the lab comes at a time when enterprises are rapidly working to understand the impact of AI and meet expanding expectations around its promise. Recent research ( has shown two thirds of executives are ambivalent or dissatisfied with their company’s progress on AI and gen AI, and 85 per cent plan to increase spending on AI and gen AI in 2024. Longer term, Cognizant and Oxford Economics’ recent study ( found gen AI could inject up to $1tn to the US economy by 2032.

“As AI rapidly evolves into mainstream use, Cognizant is continually pushing boundaries through strategic partnerships, training programmes and platform investments to be an AI-first company,” said Cognizant CEO Ravi Kumar. “With the launch of Cognizant’s advanced AI lab, we’re progressing this effort by investing in state-of-the-art core AI research that establishes our position at the forefront of innovation and our industry. Because we own the client relationship from end to end, we have a unique line of sight into businesses, industries and their AI needs. We’re putting dedicated focus on AI research and development to lay the groundwork for better business outcomes and a better future.”

By harnessing the power of large language models (LLMs) as capable knowledge workers, the lab’s researchers and developers will use the Cognizant Neuro AI platform ( to orchestrate LLMs into decision-making AI systems that can positively impact and optimise business outcomes. Moving beyond simple prompt engineering and fine-tuning, these customised AI applications will be designed to support higher value outcomes, from board-level business decisions to enterprise operations including financial, sales, product and IT support, to day-to-day productivity of individual employees.

“Cognizant’s advanced AI lab is an important partner for us in the research community, and we’ve been fast at work with them already working on simulating brain dynamics in healthy and patient populations,” said Manish Saggar, director of the brain dynamics lab at Stanford University School of Medicine. “I’m excited about the progress we’re making together, as well as its potential impact on not only advancing science but also for developing novel interventions for mental health disorders.”

Specifically, the lab will focus on:

  • Researching, designing, evaluating, building and showcasing innovative AI for business productivity and decision making across various domains;
  • Collaborating with external stakeholders, including research institutions, customers and start-ups, and engaging in AI-for-good research projects;
  • Evangelising gen AI-enabled decision-making globally, and strengthening Cognizant as a knowledge hub for published, peer-reviewed research on AI;
  • Partnering across Cognizant’s business lines and practices to train and upskill associates on new AI options as they become available through the Neuro AI platform; and
  • Fostering an environment of continuous learning, innovation and knowledge sharing.

The lab will be led by AI entrepreneur and inventor, Babak Hodjat, with AI research activities under the supervision of University of Texas at Austin AI professor Risto Miikkulainen. In just the last year, their team of researchers and developers have already published 14 papers in academic venues.

New Jersey-based Cognizant is also supporting enterprise AI adoption through its AI innovation studios in London, New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Bengaluru.

Cognizant says it is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards for responsible and ethical AI, focusing on safety, security, privacy, transparency and inclusion. For more details see