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Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov explained that public and private projects like INSAIT have the potential to instigate major change , Source: Krasimir Svrakov/ Economic.bg

New AI institute will open in Sofia with Google and Amazon backing

New AI institute will open in Sofia with Google and Amazon backing

INSAIT is supposed to turn Bulgaria into a tech paradise and rival the likes of MIT

The official ceremony launching INSAIT (Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology) was held today in the Bulgarian National Palace of Culture, located in the capital of Sofia. The institute will be part of the Sofia University 'St Kliment Ohridski' and was created in partnership with ETH Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL).

Furthermore, the project will enjoy the financial support of both the Bulgarian government and the tech giants in the industry – Google and Amazon. Apart from the funding, these companies will also help to provide knowledge support.

The main agenda of INSAIT, according to its founder and ideologue Martin Vechev, is to create a world-class tech institute, that has the resources and talent to compete with the likes of Stanford and MIT.

At the same time, Vachev has also said that it can help stop the massive brain drain from Bulgaria. In a recent interview with Capital, he explained that Bulgaria will have a chance to become a leader in the field, especially now when it has the infrastructure to retain its most talented people.

The government sees this as an opportunity

According to the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Kiril Petkov, who attended the ceremony, INSAIT aims to turn Bulgaria into a top location for computer sciences and artificial intelligence in the world.

He went a step further, by saying that the government wants to attract the biggest tech companies to invest in the country, by constructing regional centres. Petkov also explained that the government will fund the institute with 90 million euros, or 9 million every year for a period of 10 years.

Apparently, the tech giants also see the potential in INSAIT, with Google and DeepMind offering up around 3 million euros for the next three years and Amazon Web Services offering 3,5 million. Bulgarian tech companies have also decided to join in, offering substantial funding for the Institute.  

Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation also attended the launch ceremony. She praised the project for its practicality and robust structure, as well as its potential to redefine the tech sector in Eastern Europe. She went a step further by wishing the institute becomes a platform for Nobel laureates in the region.

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