Brazil announced the launch of the Artificial Intelligence Center (C4AI) that will focus on conducting research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The project was originally announced in February 2019. Launched through collaboration between the private and public sectors, C4AI will the largest artificial intelligence research facility in the country.
The private and public sector participants investing in the Artificial Intelligence Center include IBM, the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and the University of São Paulo (USP).
C4AI will focus on leveraging artificial intelligence to develop solutions in five broad areas related to the environment, health, food production chain, future of work and the development of Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies in Portuguese, The centre will also undertake projects that focus on improving human wellbeing.
The project participants will invest a total of $20 million over a period of next 10 years. USP will contribute $1 million to develop the physical space for the centre, and cover the cost of over 70 lecturers and staff who will operate the centre. IBM and FAPESP, who will co-run the centre, will contribute $500,000 each.
According to the scientific director at FAPESP, Luiz Eugênio Mello, AI offers “an infinite number of possibilities”, and that is illustrated by the current activity in that area around medical research during the Covid-19 pandemic, with AI tools bringing more effectiveness and time savings. “For FAPESP, a partnership with a company like IBM is a milestone in a strategic area for the future”, Melo noted.
C4AI will have its main location in the University of São Paulo campus, along with a secondary facility in the Institute of Mathematical and Computer Sciences (ICMC), in the city of São Carlos on another campus operated by USP.
The Artificial Intelligence Center will create three monitoring committees that will aim to identify topics of interest to Brazil around AI and expand the debate around the five focus areas identified by C4AI.