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Adelaide University opens next generation AI research centre

A new research centre that focuses on next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) technology will develop the high-calibre expertise Australia needs to compete in the coming machine learning-enabled global economy.

The Centre for Augmented Reasoning – funded with $20 million from the Australian Government – is based at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) at Lot Fourteen.

Augmented reasoning is a new and emerging field of AI which combines an advanced ability to learn patterns using traditional machine learning, with an ability to reason.

“Artificial Intelligence is right now being used to improve the productivity of every industry sector,” said Professor Anton van den Hengel, Director of the new Centre. “If Australia wants to participate in a future AI-enabled global economy, we need to be applying AI to improve our productivity.

“In every industry, the jobs that AI supports aren’t AI jobs. They’re jobs in mining, agriculture, building and service industries. By using AI to improve their efficiency, productivity and quality, Australian businesses will remain competitive in an increasingly automated global economy.”

A four-year investment by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment in people and research will train a new generation of experts in machine learning – which is the AI technology driving real economic impact today – and support the growth of new high-tech jobs at the University and Lot Fourteen.

A $3.5m innovation fund for AI commercialisation will provide seed funding to launch new start-ups, as well as support local collaboration opportunities, strategic development programs, and new business ventures. The centre will lead the research and development of new augmented systems, and improve machine learning technology across a range of applications, which might include:

  • machines that continually learn new things while interacting with the environment
  • machines that work with data analysts to optimise business processes
  • machines that can ask people questions in ways that are more natural and easier than filling in forms
  • robots that can understand and follow instructions from people
  • factories where people and machines work seamlessly together without the need for constant reprogramming of software

“Building on the University’s existing research strengths at AIML, the centre will support high-performance machine learning research, provide valuable scholarship opportunities, support AI commercialisation initiatives, and become a leading voice in Australia’s AI landscape,” said Professor Peter Høj AC, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide

“AI is already having an impact on every academic area of the University. Just as computers are now the standard tool in all workplaces, machine learning will soon become a new standard for every industry. It’s a critical part of the future.”

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