We will establish Norway’s most powerful AI infrastructure
The Research Council of Norway (NFR) recently announced that the Norwegian Artificial Intelligence Cloud (NAIC) will receive funding. The infrastructure will be the most powerful AI infrastructure in Norway. It will meet the AI needs of academia, SMEs, larger industry, startups and public administration. Gard Thomassen (UiO) is the project lead.
The whole Norwegian AI community will benefit from the infrastructure. In addition to the NORA partners, Uninett Sigma2 AS and NTNU (NAIL) are also partners of the project. The goal is not only to build a physical AI infrastructure. The project will invest in physical computing, and an even larger part of the budget will go towards building competence and education around the infrastructure. We will provide user-specific assistance and develop a coherent infrastructure federating existing resources and new resources, paving a way to scale to future needs.
The project will not only be important for Norwegian research within AI. Education and innovation will be paid special importance. UiO is in lead and six other NORA partners are individual project partners in addition to NTNU and Uninett Sigma2 AS. Below is a short summary of how NORA is expected to support in addition to the individual contributions from all partners.
NAIC will collaborate with NORA’s research school on artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. Through joint workshops and training, NAIC and NORA will help the uptake of the NAIC infrastructure for Ph.D. students in relevant domains by introducing NAIC resources and services into university courses. The NORA secretariat will offer its services as a hub for communication, linking students and researchers to the NAIC infrastructure, and will give advice on projects related to AI. Within NORA’s research school, specific workshops will be organized where Ph.D. students will bring their research projects and are offered on-boarding to NAIC. This will ensure a culture of using NAIC across the Norwegian universities and research institutes.
NAIC will be a strong driving force for collaboration between start-up companies, research communities and the business sector, with emphasis on professional competence, expertise, development and application of the mentioned technologies. NORA.startup is established as a national innovation network for research-based innovation within machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotics, with support from Innovation Norway, and will be NAIC’s tool to reach out to the start-up companies. Start-up companies will all benefit from NAIC.
The NORA secretariat will lead dissemination, outreach and community liaison, and will participate in procurement. We will demonstrate the use of the NAIC services in scientific and industry use cases. We will work with pre-selected use cases from the start and identify additional use cases through open calls.
AI infrastructure hosted by the partners and sufficient amounts of accompanying storage will be made known through a NAIC service catalogue and access procedures will be simplified. We will develop customizations of the factory model to accommodate needs of communities using existing e-infrastructures.
A tool for Norway to reach the governmental AI strategy goals
It should be noted that contracts are not signed, but we are very optimistic and see this as huge opportunity. With such a sizable funding also comes great responsibility. NORA is extremely happy to be part of this larger consortium and we are ready to take this responsibility.
In NORA we are humble to the task ahead. We believe the project will be instrumental for Norway to reach the governmental AI strategy goals. Through NAIC the Norwegian AI actors are united. NAIC is a giant leap for Norway in becoming an AI nation and will give Norway a competitive edge in the very competitive field of AI technology.