The United Kingdom and Canada have inked a significant pact aimed at enhancing collaboration in the realm of computing power essential for advancing research and development in artificial intelligence (AI). The newly signed Memorandum of Understanding on computing, sealed in Ottawa, involves UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan and Canadian Minister for Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Phillippe Champagne. This agreement solidifies the commitment of both nations to explore avenues that provide researchers and businesses with cost-effective access to the high-performance computing capabilities crucial for cutting-edge AI systems.
Crucial components in the development of contemporary AI models and applications are compute power and data. As AI progresses rapidly, the availability of cutting-edge computing infrastructure becomes increasingly crucial for groundbreaking research and global competitiveness. The UK-Canada agreement acknowledges this significance and aims to enhance collaborative innovation by facilitating improved access to computing resources.
Specifically, the agreement outlines plans for the UK and Canada to explore collaborative opportunities in providing compute power for shared research priorities, such as biomedicine. Additionally, they intend to collaborate with like-minded countries on developing sustainable models for sharing computing capabilities.
This computing agreement is an extension of the broader UK-Canada science and technology partnership, which was also renewed during Secretary Donelan’s visit. This partnership identifies quantum computing, AI, semiconductors, and clean energy as key areas for increased collaboration between researchers from both nations. It also focuses on coordinating scientific diplomacy efforts related to new technologies.
Both countries have actively engaged academics and researchers in collaborative programs, with £350 million awarded by UK Research and Innovation between 2020 and 2023. Initiatives include industry-led partnerships on quantum technologies and a project on arctic ecosystems in collaboration with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
These recent agreements further strengthen the “unique partnership” between the two countries in science and innovation, according to Secretary Donelan. She underscored their dedication to utilizing emerging technologies as a force for positive change.
Minister Champagne echoed this sentiment, stating that the agreements would have positive impacts across all fields of research and innovation. He highlighted opportunities to connect leading AI researchers from both nations.
The renewed ties in UK-Canada science come as Secretary Donelan engages with AI experts and companies during a three-day visit. Discussions on the future of AI took place with Yoshua Bengio, a pioneer in the field and recipient of the Turing Award, computing’s highest honor.
With a combined economy of $5 trillion, the UK and Canada have committed to close collaboration on technological innovation for mutual and global benefit. The computing accord represents a significant stride toward realizing this vision, particularly in the critical field of AI.