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House of CAIR

CAIR becomes a centre for research excellence and establishes House of CAIR

Positive research results and considerable computing power have resulted in UiA’s centre now moving up a division and attracting top international researchers to the South coast of Norway. The new research centre has been given the name House of CAIR, and will operate from CAIR’s premises on UiA Campus Grimstad.

By Atle Christiansen

“The aim is to gather together the smartest and most visionary researchers within artificial intelligence both in Norway and abroad, so that we can together solve the biggest challenges to come within artificial intelligence,” says Ole-Christoffer Granmo, Professor and Director of CAIR.

The Universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle, Groningen, Luleå, Ottawa and Pittsburgh are the first internationally recognised research environments within artificial intelligence to become part of the new initiative at the University of Agder (UiA).

€20 billion from the EU

The EU has just passed a resolution to earmark €20 billion annually for the purposes of research into artificial intelligence and in order to bring Europe to the forefront of the field. These are research funds that Granmo and his new international colleagues will apply for. House of CAIR aims to establish projects which will solve the large and pertinent challenges that exist within areas such as artificial morality, understandable artificial intelligence, precision medicine and rare diseases, energy optimalisation and language understanding.

Recognised research

There are two primary reasons that international researchers wish to cooperate with UiA’s researchers. There is the research at Campus Grimstad, and there is the computing power.

Ole-Christoffer Granmo launched the Tsetlin machine in March this year. This is a new method for artificial intelligence which, in many respects, has proved itself to be quicker and more precise than established methods.

“The researchers are interested in trying out our new Tsetlin machine, and we now have the computing power that makes it possible to implement large-scale research projects,” says Granmo.

Computing power is a decisive factor for researchers within artificial intelligence. At Campus Grimstad, three new giant machines have been ordered. In the space of a short period of time, UiA will purchase a further five machines. The environment in Grimstad will then be in possession of computing power that can carry out larger calculations and operations that few other universities or companies are able to by themselves in Europe today.

“Google and Facebook possess enormous computing power. This is why young and skilled researchers want to work for them. Now, we will have good computing power ourselves, and can develop an important supplement to the big actors in the field,” says Granmo.

In total, the eight machines will cost tens of millions of NOK, and UiA hopes that the business sector will enter in an ownership capacity. 


April 2017: CAIR is established

The Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) is established at Campus Grimstad, UiA.

March 2018: The Tsetlin machine is launched

Ole-Christoffer Granmo launches the Tsetlin machine, a new method for artificial intelligence which, in several respects, has proved itself to be quicker, simpler and more precise than established methods. 

September 2018: A European network is formed

Over 2000 actors from 29 European countries, amongst them CAIR and several other Norwegian research institutions, will join to make up the network CLAIRE (Confederation of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe). The aim is to strengthen Europe’s role within the research and development of artificial intelligence.

October 2018: Norwegian network is established

In order to strengthen the Norwegian research environment in artificial intelligence, CAIR pushes ahead with the establishment of NORA (Norwegian Artificial Intelligence Research Consortium). Partners here are UiA, the Arctic University of Norway (UiT), OsloMet, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Simula Research Laboratory AS and the University of Oslo.

October 2018: The Tsetlin machine goes forward and inspires international researchers 

Professor Ole-Christoffer Granmo’s Tsetlin machine has been trialled in an increasing number of new research fields since its launch in April. Granmo has two new research articles ready to be published. At the same time, foreign research environments are beginning to trial the new method together with their various partners within health, medicine and energy. 

November 2018: Professor Granmo’s company becomes advisor to the European Commission

The European Commission brings in Ole-Christoffer Granmo’s company, Anzyz Technologies, as part of an advisory committee to the commission in Brussels. The company is to give advice, amongst other things, concerning the use of artificial intelligence within fields such as health, security and law.

November 2018: CAIR becomes a centre for research excellence and establishes House of CAIR

In order to recognise research efforts of national and international class, the Board of UiA decides that CAIR is to be one of the university’s centres for research excellence. As such, CAIR will be assigned extra resources. As early as in November, it was decided that three new computers with enormous computing power were to be purchased. At the same time, a further five were approved to be purchased within the near future. The new machines give CAIR such large computing power that the research centre will be attractive for international collaborative partners. The international research centre, House of CAIR, is established, and the first partners are universities from Edinburgh, Newcastle, Groningen, Luleå, Ottawa and Pittsburgh.

Published: Thursday 15 November 2018