UC San Diego is teaming up with IBM (NYSE: IBM) on the tech giant's Cognitive Horizons Network, a consortium of universities working to use artificial intelligence to enable healthier living.

The La Jolla-based university and IBM, which is headquartered in New York, on Sept. 28 announced a five-year project aimed at enhancing the quality of life and independence for aging populations through the school's new Artificial Intelligence for Healthy Living Center (AIHL). The areas of focus will be healthy aging and the human microbiome.

"We're committed to collaborating with the best minds in academia to inspire the next generation of scientists by providing access to leading-edge AI tools and expertise to solve real problems that impact human lives," said John Kelly III, the IBM senior vice president who oversees the company's Cognitive Solutions segment and IBM Research.

The AIHL will be headed by Ruoyi Zhou and Ho-Cheol Kim from IBM Research; Tajana Rosing, holder of the Fratamico Endowed Chair and faculty member in the Jacobs School of Engineering's Computer Science and Engineering Department; and Rob Knight, a professor with dual appointments in the UCSD pediatrics as well as computer science and engineering departments and director of the university's Center for Microbiome Innovation. As part of the partnership, IBM joins the Center for Microbiome Innovation as a platinum sponsor.

The Healthy Aging project will be led by Virginia de Sa, a cognitive science professor, and Laurel Riek, a computer science professor. The Human Microbiome focus will be led by Knight, Larry Smarr, director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), and Sandrine Miller-Montgomery, a Jacobs School of Engineering faculty member and executive director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation.

Researchers in the fields of computer science, cognitive science, engineering and medicine, including psychiatry, are slated to participate in the initiative.

UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla said the university is the first on the West Coast to join the IBM-led initiative.