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Cisco and University of Edinburgh Launch Quantum and AI Centre

The University of Edinburgh has partnered with Cisco to launch a new software centre of excellence, focused on quantum and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.

Over the next five years, the centre will fund projects to deliver leading-edge software solutions, with an emphasis on quantum computing, AI, and cyber security.

Earlier this week, the government unveiled an investment plan of more than £360 million in cutting-edge technologies (such as quantum computing) under plans to make Britain a science “superpower” by the end of the decade. This partnership will contribute to the UK’s objective to lead the way in quantum technology.

The UK’s oldest academic AI research centre, the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh celebrates its 60th year of AI and computer science research.

The launch of the Quantum & AI Centre of Excellence at the University of Edinburgh follows several years of close collaboration.

Since 2017, the University and Cisco have worked together on a number of projects in areas such as speech technologies, legal implications of AI, network traffic analysis, and quantum programming languages.

The Centre is led by Dr Chris Heunen, Reader in Quantum Informatics at the School of Informatics, supported by Michael Rovatsos, Professor of Artificial Intelligence.

Dr Chris Heunen: “I am delighted to lead the new Quantum Computing & AI focussed Centre of Excellence with Cisco and I look forward to bringing together our expertise to push forward developments in these transformational technologies. Our aim is to combine our collective strengths to help shape the development of software technologies to benefit our economy and society as a whole.”

The announcement of the new centre is the latest development in computer science and AI since the University established its first research hubs in the disciplines 60 years ago.

A year-long programme of events will mark achievements over the past six decades and look to the future of computer science and AI at Edinburgh.

Chintan Patel, CTO, Cisco UK & Ireland: “This year the internet marked its 40th anniversary, and over five billion people around the world are now online. But continued research and innovation is vital to put the internet on a more secure and sustainable footing.

“Our partnership with the University of Edinburgh will help progress leading research in the AI and quantum computing technologies that will become the cornerstone of the internet of tomorrow.”

The centre is a continuation of the collaboration between Cisco and Edinburgh- the pair formed a partnership in 2019 to accelerate innovation by supporting 20 start-ups through the University’s AI Accelerator Programme.

Ramana Kompella, Head of Cisco Research: “Cisco Research is excited to expand our strategic university partnerships in the UK with the inclusion of the University of Edinburgh.

“Our goal is to collaborate with and fund research teams that are solving important technological challenges that will allow us to provide innovative and transformative solutions for our customers.”

In 2021, Cisco and Edinburgh joined forces again as part of a £12.5 million project – called Blackwood Neighbourhoods for Independent Living – to help older people live at home for longer and with greater independent, which was funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Professor Jane Hillston, Head of the School of Informatics: “This new centre represents the next step in our journey with Cisco. Over the last five years we have developed an extremely successful partnership, with potential benefits across a wide range of applications.

“Software now touches most areas of daily life and it is essential that we maintain our research efforts to ensure that the software developed and deployed is of the highest standards. We are grateful to Cisco for joining us in this endeavour.”

Source: DIGIT

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