Solomon Assefa

Solomon Assefa
  • Director
    IBM Research Africa

Solomon is currently the Director of IBM Research – Africa, the South Africa lab. He is leading the lab by defining strategy, executing R&D projects, hiring top-notch scientists, and fostering an innovation ecosystem. The lab will develop breakthrough technologies and advance science by gathering experts in decision analytics, artificial intelligence, internet-of-things, human-computer interaction, and interactive design. 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 50 scientific articles, has over 45 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 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).