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It was an honor and a privilege to attend a special event in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, today to launch INSAIT, the Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology. INSAIT is a new AI and computer science research institute that will provide truly world-class facilities.

It’s fantastic to see the country where I was born leading the charge in bridging Eastern Europe to the world-stage in computer science research.

The institute is modeled on the computer science departments of renowned institutions such as MIT, UC Berkeley and the Max-Planck Institute, and is backed by the Bulgarian government with an endowment fund of nearly $100 million. Its computer science and AI research will span topics such as machine learning, quantum computing, information security, robotics and many more. Within two years, INSAIT expects faculty and students to publish papers in top conferences.

Google is investing $3 million over the next three years to provide INSAIT with cloud computing resources and access to itsTensor Processing Unit Research Cloud, a specialized infrastructure for running high-performance machine learning models. Supported with additional investment from DeepMind and Amazon Web Services, INSAIT aims to attract and develop the best researchers, engineers and top PhD and MSc students.

I know there’s no shortage of talented researchers, computer scientists and engineers in Eastern Europe – indeed, Sofia is already ranked asone of Europe’s top tech cities – but historically, the lack of local facilities, funding and support has meant limited opportunities for basic research. INSAIT has been created in partnership with two of the world’s leading technology universities, ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, and its supervisory and advisory boards consist of leading researchers who are committed to help the institute achieve its ambitious goals.

INSAIT opens in September, and I know the team is particularly keen to receive applications from women and other groups that are often underrepresented in the world of tech.

Google is delighted to support these efforts, and I cannot wait to see what new innovation emerges from this promising venture.



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