Million-dollar investments drive AI research, innovation at Oxford, Georgia Tech, Singapore

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Million-dollar investments drive AI research, innovation at Oxford, Georgia Tech, Singapore

Oxford University is looking at international candidates to fill out the position of director of its new Institute for Ethics in AI, established in June following a £150 million ($197 million) donation from, U.S. private equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, writes NS Tech.

Founder of the Blackstone finance group and a former advisor to President Donald Trump, Schwarzman has also invested $350 million in AI research at MIT.

The research team will include industry and government experts and academics from different fields including philosophy, computer science, and law. The development is led by Sir Nigel Shadbolt – the principal of Jesus College Oxford and the co-founder of the Open Data Institute.

“We are now looking to appoint a Director who will provide intellectual vision and furnish strategic leadership for the Institute,” Shadbolt said in an interview to NS Tech.

“They will be leading a rapidly growing body of researchers, drawing down on the extraordinary resources available here in the University and with the opportunity to attract world class talent from across the globe in this vitally important area of research what will affect us all.”

According to the job description published on November 30, the university is looking for “academics with an international reputation and wide-ranging research and leadership profile within Ethics in AI,” as well as an “outstanding record of research achievement.”
Applications can be submitted by 12 noon on 15 January.

On the other side of the pond, Sandia National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta are inaugurating an AI and machine learning research center, a collaborative environment focused on hardware design and software development.

The project is to receive $5.5 million over three years from the Department of Energy Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

“The center will focus on the most challenging basic problems facing the young field, with the intention of speeding advances in cybersecurity, electric grid resilience, physics and chemistry simulations and other DOE priorities,” said Sandia project lead Siva Rajamanickam.

“A codesign center is a wonderful opportunity because people of diverse backgrounds — hardware designers, theoretical computer scientists, mathematicians and domain scientists — come together to develop solutions to a very challenging problem, the codesign of machine learning accelerators,” said Rajamanickam.

The project’s goal is to establish the U.S. as an industry leader, focus on sparse computations, and look into the use of artificial intelligence hardware on supercomputers. The group will partner with DOE’s Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office, created by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

“Sparse computations will be a focus of the ARIAA center because the method greatly reduces the number of computations on problems with large amounts of data,” said Rajamanickam. “It is highly desirable to several computational areas of interest to DOE.”

Singapore is also on an AI journey and has invested over $500 million in AI research and enterprise, according to the state’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan, writes Asean Economist.

Singapore created the Smart Nation Digital Government Office (SNDGO) to develop AI solutions that would revolutionize its economy and society. Launched in 2014, future plans for the Smart Nation project include AI deployments for network analytics, video analytics, speech and facial recognition.

“Domestically, our private and public sectors will use AI decisively to generate economic gains and improve lives. Internationally, Singapore will be recognized as a global hub in innovating, piloting, test-bedding, deploying and scaling AI solutions for impact,” said the SNDGO, part of the Prime Minister’s Office.

AI projects already developed feature drowning detection, fraud alerts and speech recognition to transcribe parliamentary debates. The publication claims Singapore is third to Indonesia and Thailand in terms of adoption rates in the region. Some key industries the government is interested in optimizing through AI are manufacturing, finance, healthcare, supply chain, cybersecurity, national safety, and government services.

NS Tech claims residents might be skeptical about trusting robots with sophisticated tasks, yet an aging population might force the state to rely more and more on AI solutions.

To ensure the responsible and ethical adoption of AI in finance, Singapore has developed a framework named Veritas. Part of its National AI Strategy, Veritas lets financial companies evaluate the technology in relation to their standards and guidelines.

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