DeepMind, the UK company working on breakthrough artificial intelligence research, will provide two scholarships to Master’s students who want to study Artificial Intelligence and Information Extraction and Knowledge Discovery at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (FMI) of Sofia University during the 2020/2021 academic year.
The scholarships’s main objectives are to enable Bulgarian students from low-income backgrounds to learn AI skills and to improve the diversity in the industry by attracting more women to the field.
Besides pure financial assistance, the recipients of the scholarship will be invited to industry events organised by DeepMind, obtain a travel grant to attend an international research conference, and will be matched with mentors from DeepMind and GATE, the big data institute in Sofia.
According to the website of Sofia University, the curriculum for its Artificial Intelligence Program includes courses in the fundamentals of machine learning, information retrieval, natural language processing, image processing and pattern recognition, embedded and autonomous systems, neural networks and genetic algorithms, robot control, and recommender systems.
“We’re delighted to strengthen our relationship with Sofia University through the DeepMind scholarship programme. By removing some of the financial barriers that prevent people applying to postgraduate study and providing mentoring and pastoral support, we hope to support the efforts of the Eastern Europe Machine Learning Summer School (EEMLS) and others, to encourage Bulgarian students from all walks of life to consider postgraduate study in AI,” commented Obum Ekeke, education and university partnerships lead at DeepMind.
The Eastern European Machine Learning (EEML) summer school is a one-week summer school that covers theoretical and practical aspects of artificial intelligence and aims to popularize the topics across the region. It’s organized by three prominent Romanian researchers working at Deepmind – Doina Precup, Razvan Pascanu, and Viorica Patraucean.
Deepmind became famous in 2016 after its AlphaGo program managed to beat a professional human player, which at the time was deemed an achievement years ahead of schedule. Before that, the company was acquired by Google in 2014. In recent years, Deepmind has been researching and creating algorithms to effectively diagnose eye diseases, save 30% of the energy used to keep data centres cool, and predict the complex 3D shapes of proteins – which has the potential to change the way drugs are invented. In 2019, AlphaStar was also introduced, a program based on reinforcement learning which in a few months reached a Grandmaster level in the popular video game Starcraft.