Landmark Collaboration: UK-Canada Pact on AI Computing Unveiled

02.02.2024

 

The UK and Canada have recently inked a groundbreaking agreement aimed at fostering collaboration in the realm of computing power to propel advancements in AI research and development.

The Memorandum of Understanding on compute, signed in Ottawa by UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan and Canadian Minister for Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Phillippe Champagne, solidifies the partnership between the two nations in the field of AI. The agreement commits both countries to exploring avenues to provide researchers and companies with affordable access to the high-powered computing capacity essential for cutting-edge AI systems.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of AI, access to top-notch computing infrastructure is becoming increasingly crucial for groundbreaking research and maintaining global competitiveness. Recognizing this, the UK-Canada agreement aims to enhance compute access to drive joint innovation.

Under the terms of the agreement, the UK and Canada will explore opportunities for collaboration in providing compute power for shared research priorities, such as biomedicine. Additionally, they plan to work collaboratively, along with like-minded countries, to establish sustainable models for sharing compute capabilities.

This compute agreement is an extension of the broader UK-Canada science and technology partnership, which was also renewed during Secretary Donelan’s visit. The partnership identifies quantum computing, AI, semiconductors, and clean energy as key areas for increased collaboration between British and Canadian researchers. It also focuses on coordinating scientific diplomacy efforts related to new technologies.

Both countries have actively engaged academics and researchers in collaborative programs, with UK Research and Innovation awarding £350 million between 2020 and 2023. Notable initiatives include the first industry-led partnership on quantum technologies and a project on arctic ecosystems in collaboration with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Secretary Donelan emphasized that these latest agreements reinforce the “unique partnership” in science and innovation between the two countries, expressing their commitment to leveraging emerging technologies as a force for good.

Minister Champagne echoed this sentiment, foreseeing positive impacts across all fields of research and innovation. He emphasized the opportunities to connect leading AI researchers in both countries.

The renewal of science ties between the UK and Canada coincides with Secretary Donelan’s three-day visit, during which she engaged with AI experts and companies. Discussions on the future of AI took place, including talks with Yoshua Bengio, a Turing Award recipient and pioneer in the field.

With a combined $5 trillion economy, the UK and Canada are committed to close collaboration in technological innovation for the benefit of both nations and the global community. The compute accord represents a significant stride toward realizing this vision, particularly in the critical domain of AI.

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