Alibaba launches first AI-dedicated research centre outside of China
The research centre is being launched in partners...
Alibaba is set to open its new AI-dedicated research centre in Singapore, its first outside of China.
The research centre is being launched in partnership with the local Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with the facility set to be housed on the university’s campus.
It is expected that a total of 50 researchers from a combination of Alibaba and NTU will conduct their research within the centre, whilst the AI-centric applications developed there will be tested within both the NTU campus and Singapore as a whole.
Although the exact funding that will be attributed to the research centre has not be disclosed, the company has confirmed that the partnership with the university will be worth millions of dollars.
The project makes up part of the company’s broader Discovery, Adventure Momentum and outlook (DAMO) Research and Development (R&D) fund that Alibaba launched last year. This is set to include seven new research development labs, and $15bn in funding over the course of the next seven years.
The DAMO fund and Alibaba’s increasing emphasis on AI is a key indicator for the market as whole, with the IDC having predicted that by 2021 global spending on AI systems could reach $57.6bn.
The news of Alibaba's new Singapore research centre comes within the same week as Alibaba Cloud launching its technology services across the Europe.
1993 – Founding
Jensen Huang from AMD, and Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem from Sun Microsystems, saw a market to improve graphics performance with dedicated hardware. They sensed that computer games would become a huge market and set out with $40,000 to found Nvidia.
1993 – Funding
Having named the company after a file-naming system they had devised, the trio needed funding, which came in the shape of a $20 million venture capital round led by Sequoia Capital.
1998 – Breakthrough
Nvidia had some success but their breakthrough would come with the introduction of the RIVA TNT graphics adapter. The following year, the company released the GeForce 256, which had on-board transformation and lighting. The GeForce comfortably led competitors.
2000s – success
Nvidia won the contract to develop graphics hardware for Microsoft’s Xbox and would go on to provide similar services to Sony for the Playstation 3. A slew of acquisitions and awards made Nvidia a household name in graphics.
2020 – Cambridge-1
The benefits of using the awesome power of graphics hardware to process other data was not lost on Nvidia, which announced plans to build the Cambridge-1, the UK’s most powerful computer. The company’s future in AI hardware development is virtually secure.
Photo credit: Nvidia
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