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Sweden to invest $585 million in artificial intelligence

Christian Fernsby ▼ | January 4, 2020
A total of 5.5 billion SEK ($585 million), the largest single research effort in Sweden ever, will be invested to enable the country to become a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI), Swedish Television (SVT) reported.
Anders Ynnerman
Technology in Sweden   Anders Ynnerman, program director for WASP
According to the report, the amount will be invested up till 2029 and most of the investment comes from Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP).

Topics: Sweden artificial intelligence

The Wallenberg Foundations was founded by Sweden's leading industrial and financial family and is one of Europe's largest foundations.

"AI is a research area that operates with increasing speed worldwide. And with this program, we are raising Sweden to an internationally competitive level," Anders Ynnerman, program director for WASP, told SVT.

Besides AI, the program also includes autonomous systems and software.

However, AI research is a large proportion of the work. To date, as part of the program, 30 professors and senior lecturers in various disciplines have been recruited and at least 400 doctoral students will be educated at new Swedish research schools.

"AI is a broad area and Sweden has been superior in a few research sub-areas. However, with the investments that are now being made, we are internationally well placed on a broader foundation," noted Ynnerman.

According to SVT, in total, the WASP program has so far invested in over 400 different projects, with research at five of Sweden's leading technical universities. They also collaborated with reputable universities in the U.S. and Singapore.

A large proportion of the program was about Machine Learning, Deep Learning and the next generation AI, as well as the mathematics behind the technique.

Artificial intelligence is used today in a number of areas, such as internet search engines, self-driving vehicles and computers that can detect cancer. But that's just a fraction of possible uses.

Nearly forty Swedish companies, including Volvo, ABB and Ericsson, have been reportedly associated with the program.

Within the framework of the program, there is also funding for the infrastructure required to utilize the technology, and funding dedicated to educating the public on the new technology.

The Swedish government has previously been criticized for not investing centrally in building competitive AI competence. But now the Swedish state is also investing money in a number of projects that together will be worth billions.

The state research institute RISE is part of this initiative and has seen that the need for AI technology is now growing even in smaller companies as well as in the public sector.

The government has also established AI Innovation of Sweden, the national coordinating center for Swedish AI research and development, which has a hub at Lindholmen in Gothenburg, west Sweden, and will ensure that there is sufficient computing power required for fast computing, and make more public data registers available for research.