SEK 1 billion for artificial intelligence research

[2017-11-17] The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has decided to award grants amounting to SEK 1 billion for research into artificial intelligence. The effort is made through Wallenberg Autonomous Systems and Software Program, where Umeå University is one of five partners.

With developments in artificial intelligence (AI) predicted to have a major impact on research activities and society at large, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW) has decided to award grants amounting to SEK 1 billion over the coming decade for research into the field.

The Wallenberg Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP), launched in 2015, is receiving additional funding of SEK 1 billion to develop competence in key AI fields: machine learning, deep learning and mathematics. The participating universities (Linköping University, Chalmers University of Technology, KTH Royal institute of Technology, Lund and Umeå University) are contributing substantial additional funding together with Swedish companies. Fully operational the AI initiative will have received SEK 1.5 billion in funding of which SEK 1 billion from the Foundation.

“Umeå University has good traditions in the AI area. Professor Lars-Erik Janlert was one of the founders of the Swedish Artificial Intelligence Society, SAIS, in the early 1980s, a society promoting research and application of Artificial Intelligence”, says Professor Erik Elmroth, The Department of Computing Science at Umeå University and the University's contact person in WASP.

“Today, we have in Umeå over 20 PhD researchers and a large number of PhD students contributing within different areas of artificial intelligence”, says Erik Elmroth.

Breakthroughs based on artificial intelligence

Autonomous and self-driving cars, the AlphaGo program from Google, which can beat the world champion in Go, Google Translate, and expert systems in medicine are just some examples of breakthroughs based on artificial intelligence. Major advances have been achieved in recent years within fields such as machine learning and deep learning (machine learning with the aid of neural networks). The technology in itself is not new: what is new is that the computer power now available and advances in methods make additional applications feasible.

Research schools and international recruiting

The AI technology initiative will focus primarily on developing long-term competence by building large research schools and recruiting young researchers from the rest of the world to Sweden. 

Editor: Mikael Hansson

Link to news: