Telenor and NTNU open $5.8 million artificial intelligence research lab

Telenor NTNU AI lab
Photo credit: Kai T. Dragland/NTNU

Telenor and NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) have opened a new artificial intelligence research center on NTNU’s campus in Trondheim.

The new center, Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab, is being financed with NOK 50 million ($5.8 million) from Telenor. NOK 40 million will fund professorships, post-doctoral positions and master/PhD scholarships as well as hardware and software for the lab. An additional NOK 10 million will be dedicated to building an IoT innovation network which will provide an importance source of data for the lab’s research work.

Telenor researchers will participate in joint projects at the lab. NTNU will contribute academic resources, infrastructure and technical assistance while research organization SINTEF will contribute with bringing the knowledge into practical use.

Telenor says the lab will be an inclusive and sharing centre where members of academia, businesses, startup communities, organisations and authorities can contribute to and benefit from the development of new knowledge. The lab will be based on established principles for research ethics, to which contributors must adhere.

The objective is that companies and organizations will contribute real-life problems to be addressed as well as datasets for the scientists to work on together. Telenor will make large and anonymized datasets available from its mobile and IoT networks.

“Artificial intelligence is perhaps the single most important technology of our century,” says Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor Group. “In the future, AI will drive your car, revolutionize cancer treatment and make public services more efficient. With this opening we want to accelerate the education, research and competency building which will be crucial for Norway’s ability to compete in the digital future.”

“Artificial intelligence is an area where Norway can take a position internationally while simultaneously developing services to the benefit of Norwegian society,”says Gunnar Bovim, Rector at NTNU. “The most important aspect of the Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab is that we’re now creating the foundation of knowledge for something we don’t yet know what is. I believe that we will help create a society where technology makes our personal and professional lives simpler, smarter and better.”

“Artificial intelligence represents a fundamental technological shift that opens up for new opportunities, increased competitiveness for Norwegian industry, and greater efficiency in the public sector. SINTEF is betting heavily on AI and believe it is vital that leading expertise in this area is developed in Norway,” says Alexandra Bech Gjørv, CEO of SINTEF.

The Telenor-NTNU AI-Lab will conduct research on theory and methods within machine learning (multiple technologies and applications that can understand, act and learn from big datasets) as well as pursue applied research at an international level. The ambition is also that the lab will stimulate the creation of new products, services, businesses and workplaces.

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