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HSE University Receives Government Grant to Create AI Research Centre

HSE University Receives Government Grant to Create AI Research Centre

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A competition of research centres looking to receive grants through the Artificial Intelligence federal project has concluded, and HSE University is among the winners. Winning centres will focus on developing new AI technologies that expand its application, overcoming existing limitations for solving applied problems and optimizing AI models.

Under instructions from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation formed an expert council to review applications received for the competition. Thirty-six centres took part in the competition. Following the meeting, the working group participants, which included 16 experts, voted for the strongest applications. The following institutes are grant recipients: Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Ivannikov Institute for System Programming, Innopolis University, ITMO University, and HSE University.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia

Today, we selected applications for grants of up to 1 billion roubles for the creation of six AI research centres by 2024 as part of the federal Artificial Intelligence project. Total funding, taking into account extra-budgetary financing, will amount to 7 billion roubles. This is significant amount even for large universities and scientific organizations and consequently involves considerable responsibility for the result. These six centres will become reference points for the development of AI technology. They should not only help other participants to level up for the next competition, but also help Russia achieve global leadership in the development of AI technology.

The HSE University Artificial Intelligence Research Centre will work in the field of ‘Intersectoral artificial intelligence technologies and artificial intelligence for other priority sectors of the economy and society.’ The centre will focus on developing new AI technologies that expand its application, overcoming existing limitations for solving applied problems and optimizing AI models.

The researchers plan to pay attention to areas with a high degree of social significance, such as artificial intelligence for business, law, education, as well as the development of new AI technologies.


Development of applied AI technologies

AI in cultural and linguistic environments

Intelligent methods in production and industrial safety

AI in information processes

Other important areas relevant for the economy and society

The first key events are scheduled for November 1, 2021, and preparations are currently underway.

In addition to the departments under the HSE Faculty of Computer Science, which make up the Artificial Intelligence Centre, the following HSE University departments on the Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Perm campuses will also be involved in implementing the centre’s programme:

 Centre for Data Analysis and Machine Learning, HSE University in St. Petersburg

 Department of Informatics, HSE University in St. Petersburg

 St. Petersburg School of Economics and Management, HSE University in St. Petersburg

 Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Empirical Studies, HSE University in Perm

 Faculty of Informatics, Mathematics, and Computer Science, HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod

 HSE Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics

 Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge

 Institute of Education

 Center for Language and Brain

 School of Media and Centre for Digital Cultures and Media Literacy

 Faculty of Social Sciences

 School of Linguistics, HSE Centre for Digital Humanities, Faculty of Humanities

 School of Philosophy and Cultural StudiesFaculty of Humanities

 Centre for Financial Research & Data Analytics, Faculty of Economic Sciences

Department of Theoretical Economics, Faculty of Economic Sciences

 Laboratory for Litigation Data Analysis, Faculty of Law

SBER, Yandex, and the MTS Artificial Intelligence Center will be the centre's industry partners. During the project implementation period, the partners plan to take active part in the centre’s research and education activities.

The centre will work jointly with SBER on the use of AI in banking regulation. The researchers will work on improving the bank's socially focused services in line with how AI is being applied within in SBER: risk analysis (including psychological prototyping of future borrowers), personal consultations, personalization of client offers, and automation of standard operations and simple business processes.

Researchers will collaborate with Yandex to study and optimize pricing models in bilateral markets that appear in crowdsourcing systems in particular. They will also develop new methods for estimating uncertainty in vehicle autopilot algorithms. Yandex plans to implement the results of this collaboration in the Yandex SDG and Yandex Toloka services.

The MTS Artificial Intelligence Center also plans to introduce software products developed in the centre. The main areas of AI application here involve improving sound quality and improving learning transfer models that allow neural networks to be trained on small data.

Ivan Arzhantsev, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science

The creation of the AI Centre opens up great opportunities for HSE University to develop basic research in the field of artificial intelligence, enhance interaction with traditional faculty partners (Yandex, SBER) and develop new partnerships (MTS AI Center).

Another important area is strengthening multidisciplinary cooperation within the university. The development of new AI technologies not only requires the participation of specialists in computer science, but also the involvement of experts from relevant subject areas. Such involvement is necessary at different stages - while stating problems and objectives, choosing possible approaches to the solution, testing the obtained results, and, most importantly, while implementing the solutions and assessing their effects.

While preparing the application, we managed to combine the efforts of all HSE campuses and many HSE departments, and we are confident that everything we planned will be implemented successfully.

Dmitry Vetrov, Professor at the Big Data and Information Retrieval School, Head of the Centre of Deep Learning and Bayesian Methods

Winning the competition of AI centres was the result of long-term work on AI development at HSE University, which intensified after the Faculty of Computer Science was established in 2014. Efforts aimed at developing modern courses, involving students in research, and creating strong laboratories at the faculty started to bear fruit. For example, last week we learned that in December 2021, the faculty staff will present ten reports at NeurIPS — a major global AI conference. Four undergraduates and one doctoral student in the Faculty of Computer Science are among the authors.

The strong points of our application were the research groups that successfully study the most promising AI topics (generative neural network models, reinforcement learning, probabilistic inference in neural networks, intelligent text processing, etc.), as well as many teams in other faculties that are ready to apply AI methods in their research.

We received support from very strong industry partners who are ready to invest in our research and understand its importance both for their own businesses and for Russia’s development as a whole. Thanks to this grant, we will be able to attract more young researchers, develop existing research areas, new AI technologies and achieve results in applied fields.