Facebook, Google plug into new African Master's in Machine Intelligence

Facebook, Google plug into new African Master's in Machine Intelligence

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences will host one year program from its campus in Kigali.

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) has announced the launch of a one-year African Master's in Machine Intelligence (AMMI) program that it will run in partnership with Facebook and Google from the AIMS-Rwanda campus in Kigali.

Dr. Mouhamadou Moustapha Cissé, Founder and Director of the AMMI program and Professor of Machine Learning at AIMS, said the initiative (which kicks off in September) aims to bolster the small and homogenous machine intelligence global community.

"Machine Intelligence (MI) is revolutionising critical aspects of our lives. It enhances medical diagnosis, improves industrial processes and enables scientific discoveries. Over the past decade, thanks to large public and private investments, MI has progressed rapidly in both basic research and the development of a vast array of applications. However, the talent pool currently advancing MI is modest and unrepresentative of the diversity of our world, leaving us less capable of facing global challenges. The challenges we choose to work on are strongly influenced by our backgrounds and our environment. Our goal with AMMI is to train a generation of young scientists who will bring a fresh perspective to machine intelligence research and contribute to advancing its development across Africa, for the benefit of its society."

AIMS and it two corporate partners believe that creating a globally connected community of Machine Intelligence practitioners in Africa will reduce the technology gap, boost the continent's economies and enable better governance.

Jerome Pesenti, VP of Artificial Intelligence at Facebook, said "We're excited to see how students will utilise advanced technologies to solve problems and build solutions for the future of Africa and the rest of the world. We look forward to seeing them contribute to the growing ecosystem of African machine intelligence scientists and bring a fresh perspective on the challenges tackled by the scientific community."

Jeff Dean, AI Lead at Google says the rapid advancement of the field of machine intelligence makes partnerships a necessity.

"It's imperative that industry leaders including Google and Facebook, continue to partner with academic institutions like AIMS to develop the next generation of students who will build MI that benefits everyone. We look forward to working with AIMS to drive this effort through the AMMI program. Along with our recent announcement of a Google AI center, scheduled to open later this year in Ghana, this partnership with AIMS is another example of our long term investment and commitment to Africa."

Professor Neil Turok, Founder and Chair of the AIMS said there are plans to replicate AMMI in other African countries in order to create a pan-African network of centres for training and research.

"AMMI will open the doors to Africa's most talented youth, enabling them to contribute to industry, government and science on the continent. They will be the pioneers of a growing ecosystem of African machine intelligence specialists bringing leading edge skills to Africa's economy, governance and society at large. AMMI is a first step towards AIMS' longer term goal of preparing Africa for the coming quantum revolution in information science and technology."

AIMS currently has six centers of excellence across Africa, namely South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Tanzania, and Rwanda.