The initiators of ICAIN met at the WEF in Davos to launch the initiative. Image credit: Presence Switzerland

Supercomputers help to reduce inequality

18 January 2024 10:05

Zurich CCGreater Zurich

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Zurich/Davos - The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have launched the International Computation and AI Network. The aim of the network of supercomputers working with artificial intelligence (AI) is to implement UN goals and global sustainability.

The International Computation and AI Network (ICAIN) was presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos. According to a statement from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), the founding members of this international network include the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the ETH, the affiliated Centro Svizzero di Calcolo Scientifico (CSCS), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EFPL), the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS), Data Science Africa and the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC).

With the network, the initiators want to open up access to supercomputing, data and software infrastructures as well as AI expertise to a wide community. The aim is to enable international research projects that benefit society as a whole and are aligned with the sustainability goals of the United Nations. “The capabilities for developing generative AI models are currently mostly in the hands of private companies,” commented Alexandre Fasel, State Secretary at the FDFA in the statement. “This creates the risk that solutions will be developed primarily that can be monetised quickly and not be affordable for players in low-​income countries.”

The first pilot projects are already planned for 2024. The aim is to support training programs and non-profit research projects in the field of machine learning and data science in Africa.

During an incubation phase, the governance rules and coordination processes for ICAIN will be designed and funding secured. The effective establishment of ICAIN should be completed in 2025. ce/ww

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