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IBM to bring 500 jobs to new Ohio analytics center

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — IBM Corp. plans to ramp up its analytics operations in Ohio, bringing 500 jobs over the next three years to a new center that's focused on data crunching and consulting services.

Company officials were expected Thursday to announce plans to establish the center in suburban Columbus. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Gordon Gee, the president of Ohio State University, were expected to attend the morning news conference.

Among other duties, the new hires at the center would build computer applications and models to allow businesses to better draw conclusions from vast amounts of data, said Ron Lovell, vice president of the IBM Client Center for Advanced Analytics.

For instance, he said the center's employees could take chunks of information from an insurance company to help find out why customers might be choosing to jump to a competitor. Clients range from banks to the auto industry.

Lovell said such applications give businesses insights into consumer behavior that they otherwise might not have known.

"They'll look at the data and make decisions they typically wouldn't be able to make because they haven't looked at such huge quantities of data," Lovell said.

The IBM center will have ties to Ohio State, as part of the company's plan to more easily find workers who are trained in analytics.

IBM is collaborating with the university on a new business and technology curricula for undergraduates and helping to beef up the current curriculum for graduate students. The company has already uploaded software for faculty to use in the classroom. Under the partnership with Ohio State, Lovell said the company envisions hosting internships for students and offering courses and seminars taught by IBM leaders.

Lovell said the company worked with JobsOhio, the state's private job-creation entity, on incentives to expand in the Columbus area. He declined to discuss the terms as they had yet to be finalized.

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