South Australia’s AI credentials will continue to grow with the establishment of the Centre for Augmented Reasoning to be located in the University of Adelaide’s Australian Institute for Machine Learning based at Lot Fourteen.
An allocation of $20 million from the recent Federal Budget will go towards establishing the centre that will focus on the new and emerging form of artificial intelligence (AI) – augmented reasoning - which combines an advanced ability to learn from data (using traditional machine learning) with an ability to reason.
In essence, the goal is to make computers more capable of understanding humans, our instructions and needs, through more natural conversation.
The centre will align with Lot Fourteen’s future industry and hi-tech focus, which has seen AIML students benefit from being surrounded by established businesses and start-ups in the defence, space, agritech and medical machine learning sectors that are also based in the precinct.
University of Adelaide Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mike Brooks, said the new centre would be major boost to the University of Adelaide’s capabilities and create new jobs in research, and opportunities for students.
“It will cement South Australia’s position as the nation’s lead state for AI research and innovation,and stimulate a new generation of high-tech businesses and jobs here in the state,” he said.
Premier Steven Marshall said the centre would directly support the state government’s strategy to establish Lot Fourteen as an advanced technology innovation hub.
“The Centre for Augmented Reasoning will help to underpin the 21st century economy in this state.”
Director of the Centre for Augmented Reasoning, University of Adelaide Professor Anton van den Hengel, said the University was already helping Australian businesses to adapt and to integrate AI in their products and businesses, including in film animation, medical diagnostics, manufacturing, food quality assessment, plant breeding, and mining.
“Our expertise and tools are uniquely home-grown, and designed to serve Australia’s economy, workplaces and society,” he said. “The centre will help ensure Australia remains competitive with other nations who are investing heavily in AI and machine learning, including China, USA, South Korea, Singapore, the UK and Japan.
“Augmented reasoning will reduce the need for structured interfaces between humans and machines – such as keyboards, drop down menus and command lines – and will enable machines and humans to interact in ways that makes more sense to us all.
“The applications of this field of research are only limited by our imaginations,” said Professor van den Hengel.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the new centre was an important part of the Morrison Government’s $1 billion Budget investment in research.
“This will be critical for Australia’s COVID-19 economic recovery, generating jobs of the future and establishing Australia as a 21st century economy,” he said. “This new research centre will support Australian industry, create jobs and economic growth, and improve the quality of life of all Australians.”
Senator Rex Patrick, Senator for South Australia said the Centre would be a major drawcard for the smartest young minds in the state to stay here in SA.
“It will have a particular focus on increasing female participation in this exciting and dynamic research field,” he said.
The Centre for Augmented Reasoning will be located in the Australian Institute for Machine Learning which was established in 2018 through co-investment by the Government of South Australia and the University of Adelaide, creating Australia’s first institute dedicated to ML research.
With about 130 members, including higher degree by research students, post-doctoral students and staff researchers, AIML is the largest university-based research group in machine learning in Australia and is ranked third in the world for computer vision research.
Its work covers the themes of machine learning theory, robotic (computer) vision, medical machine learning, trusted autonomous systems, surveillance and tracking, photogrammetry and 3D modelling.
More on AIML here