Optus backs AI research

Optus backs Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence at Curtin Uni

Optus Business revealed today that it has struck a five-year agreement with Curtin University to back a new research group focused on artificial intelligence.

The group will scrutinise the impact of AI on a range of areas, Optus said, including regional telecommunications, higher education and the urban environment.

Analyst firm IDC expects worldwide spending on cognitive and AI systems will this year hit US$19.1 billion, up 54.2 per cent on 2017.

IDC believes that in 2021 that figure will reach $52.2 billion in 2021, with spending on AI technologies to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 46.2 per cent over the 2016-2021 period.

The new Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence will be based in Curtin’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences.

As part of the agreement, an Optus Chair in Artificial Intelligence will be appointed and three Optus Research Fellows established. The agreement also includes funding for PhD scholarships and student projects.

“The development of artificial intelligence is among the most exciting and emerging areas of research and as a leading science and technology research university, Curtin is the perfect partner for this project,” said Curtin University vice-chancellor Professor Deborah Terry.

“Fully realising the application of technology, like artificial intelligence, is critical in how we’re helping organisations address digital disruption,” said Optus Business managing director John Paitaridis.

“Great innovation comes from collaboration, which is why we are so pleased to be joining with Curtin to create a Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence by bringing together the experience and expertise of industry and academia.”

This year’s federal budget earmarked $29.9 million over four years to help strengthen Australia’s AI and machine learning capabilities. Part of that funding will go towards programs to help boost the AI skills base in Australia.

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