Bulgaria: Launch of INSAIT, Institute of Computing and Technology, financially supported by Google, AWS and Deepmind

At the beginning of April, INSAIT, an institute of computer science, artificial intelligence and technology, created in partnership with the technological universities ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, was launched in Sofia, Bulgaria. It will benefit from the financial support of the Bulgarian government but also of those ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, to achieve its objectives: to develop the Bulgarian scientific community, to enable, develop and retain local and international research talents, as well as to accelerate the impact of economic and social innovation in the region.

INSAIT was created in partnership with two of the world’s top technological universities, the aim is to make it a leading scientific institute for computer science and AI and a research powerhouse in these rapidly expanding technological fields. .

Sofia is ranked among the best tech cities in Europe. Since Bulgaria entered the EU, it has attracted many foreigners due to the low cost of living and a flat rate of 10% personal and corporate income tax, the highest bottom of EU. Important foreign IT companies have some of their R&D centers there (Bosch, SAP, VMWare), thus offering opportunities for research-industry interactions for INSAIT professors.

INSAIT

The institute will open in September 2022, it will be supervised and advised by world-renowned scientists from ETH Zurich, EPFL, IST Austria, MIT, UC Berkeley, Yale, of Princeton and the Technion-Institute of Technology. Its president is Martin Vechev, a native of Sofia, a graduate of the Sofia High School of Mathematics (SMG), currently professor of computer science at ETH Zurich where he directs the Secure, Reliable, and Inteligent Systems Lab. It is thanks to him that this institute was able to see the light of day.

The institute is modeled on the computer science departments of top universities such as MIT, UC Berkeley, ETH, Technion, Max-Planck, its focus areas include machine learningnatural language processing, computer vision, programming languages, quantum, computer architecture, information security as well as other technological fields.

Prevent brain drain

Innovation in Eastern Europe is strongly impacted by the brain drain, it is estimated that around 30,000 Bulgarians leave their country each year to study and pursue their career in a western country. INSAIT, Eastern Europe’s premier research centre, will offer world-class research environments and internationally competitive salaries, attracting overseas researchers and encouraging the best young talent to stay in the world. country, which will have a significant economic and social impact throughout the region.

Martin Vechev says:

“Eastern Europe is full of brilliant scientific minds – but too often people’s aspirations are limited due to lack of facilities, funding and support. This has led to a “brain drain” out of Eastern Europe, a systemic problem that discourages innovation. INSAIT is perfectly positioned to reverse this trend and compete globally. »

He adds :

“AWS, Google, and DeepMind understand the importance of bridging science and technology divides between East and West to promote inclusive economic growth and recovery, democratize science, and attract top talent focused on solving some of the toughest AI challenges. We also have their support to promote diversity and inclusion in science, encouraging applications from women and other underrepresented groups in technology and science. »

Amazon Web Services will provide $3.75 million in funding over the next five years to support INSAIT’s research into automated reasoning, the algorithmic search for proofs in mathematical logic. AWS integrates automated reasoning into a range of customer solutions, including Provable Security, a solution that provides strong security in the cloud.

Byron Cook, Vice President and Science of Amazon Web Services (AWS), said:

“Today, all the time, scientists, engineers and software developers are creating the next innovation that will change our lives forever. At AWS, we are committed to helping people learn the new skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow. With the launch of INSAIT in Sofia, we look forward to equipping the future workforce with advanced skills in automated reasoning and research, and helping to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. which will benefit society as a whole. »

For its part, Google is investing $3 million over three years to provide INSAIT with cloud computing resources and access to Tensor Processing Unit Research Cloud, a specialized infrastructure for running high-performance machine learning models. performance.

Jeff Dean, Senior Fellow at Google, said:

“Google is very proud to support the work of INSAIT. Eastern Europe has an incredible pool of computer science and engineering talent, and we want to help INSAIT become a world-class facility, attracting top researchers from the region and beyond. There is still much to be done in the area of ​​AI and computing, and initiatives like these are essential to ensuring that technology benefits everyone. I can’t wait to see the groundbreaking work to come from INSAIT! »

Additionally, DeepMind is investing $285,000 to fund two PhD scholarships for women.

Bulgarian government and business involvement

INSAIT also received an initial endowment of nearly $100 million over 10 years from the Bulgarian government and an investment of $7 million from local businesses, including £6.5 million from SiteGround.

The unanimous ratification by parliament of this international agreement between ETH Zurich, EPFL and the University of Sofia and the fact that scientific research in computer science receives public funding and support in Eastern Europe, sets a precedent for the country and region.

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Bulgaria: Launch of INSAIT, Institute of Computing and Technology, financially supported by Google, AWS and Deepmind


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