University to lead new AI initiative

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The University is set to lead a new era of generative AI in the form of a laboratory which will stimulate economic growth and create benefits for society.

The Generative AI Laboratory (GAIL) will unite the University’s world-leading research and innovation in AI to develop techniques for generative AI in key areas such as robotics, drug discovery, medical diagnoses, semi-conductor development, and tackling climate change. 

Generative AI is a type of machine learning that can generate various types of content including text, images, audio, video and computer code.  

Experts will also work in partnership with the University’s Centre for Technomoral Futures to take a fresh look at the ethical, legal and regulatory frameworks necessary to ensure the safe and responsible use of AI. 

Professor Iain Gordon, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University, said: “Edinburgh is uniquely placed to provide world-class leadership and expertise around generative AI.  

“Once operational, this exciting initiative will create a new pipeline of talent with the skills to both benefit from and shape this transformational technology’s economic and societal benefits.” 

The initiative follows the University’s well-established high-performance computing infrastructure with an international reach, which is vital for building AI systems. It currently hosts the UK’s national supercomputer, ARCHER2, and will soon be one of only a handful of institutes in the world to have a next-generation exascale supercomputer.

Pioneering a new era of UK supercomputing | Bulletin 

Professor Helen Hastie, Head of the University’s School of Informatics, said: “GAIL builds on world-class research at the School of Informatics in AI and machine learning, which has been applied to a variety of fields such as healthcare, fintech and sustainability.  

“The School is well-placed to be an anchor for the GAIL cross-disciplinary research and development, by forging key collaborations within the University and with external partners and policymakers.”