Northern Irish economy minister, Gordon Lyons, has announced that Queen’s University, Belfast, and NVIDIA will invest £5.4 million in a joint research and development (R&D) project with the aim to accelerate artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber security research in Northern Ireland. Part of the project will be funded through a £1.7 million R&D grant by Invest Northern Ireland.
NVIDIA’s Belfast office will become a research hub for advanced network intelligence, with ten new highly skilled engineering and research roles being created.
Making the announcement, the minister said: “Northern Ireland is enjoying a growing international reputation as a region with expertise in cyber security. This research and development project will enhance this reputation by making a significant contribution to the next generation of cloud communications infrastructure.
“Collaboration between industry and academia is an important driver of innovation and growth in technology, and I am pleased to see this partnership between Queen’s University and NVIDIA. Investments like this are supporting my department’s 10X Economic Vision and positioning Northern Ireland on the global innovation map amongst the best small economies.”
NVIDIA graphics processing units, or GPUs, have redefined modern computer graphics, high performance computing and artificial intelligence. This new research and development project will include efforts to develop additional innovative functionality on NVIDIA’s next-generation data processing units, or DPUs.
Professor Sakir Sezer, who also serves as principal architect at NVIDIA, said: “We plan to tap into the highly skilled researchers and PhDs at Queen’s University, as well as state-of-the art labs at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) and the Global Innovation Institute, to explore research challenges around AI-centric cloud and data centre security. This project is an important step in greater engagement between NVIDIA and the university, and we look forward to welcoming the new engineering staff joining us for it.”
Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, Professor Ian Greer, said: “The allocation of this funding will have a hugely positive impact on the cyber security sector, both locally and globally. At Queen’s, we are very proud of the work that takes place through our Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology and are looking forward to further developing cutting-edge research through the Global Innovation Institute.
“This partnership with NVIDIA is an excellent opportunity to work collaboratively on world leading research, and it is vital that we continue to do this in tandem with our industry partners. In doing so, we are investing in the skills of the next generation of leaders in cyber security and progressing the Northern Ireland economy.”
Welcoming the announcement, Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s director of innovation, research and development, said: “Securing such a prestigious project for Northern Ireland is testament to NVIDIA’s confidence in its Belfast workforce and what it can achieve in Northern Ireland. The company has a proven track record for using innovation to stay ahead of its competitors and translating ideas into successful commercial reality. This project, which we are supporting with a £1.7 million grant for research and development, will strengthen the skills, technical capabilities and standing of NVIDIA’s Belfast engineering team and encourage a knowledge spill over within the Northern Ireland development community.”