Samsung signs €4m deal with Insight Centre to build next-generation AI

10 Jan 2018

A Samsung Galaxy S8. Image: Leszek Kobusinski/Shutterstock

Samsung and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics are teaming up for a €4m research project to build AI technology for their products.

The next generation of Samsung’s artificial intelligence (AI) personal assistant Bixby may be built with some major assistance from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at University College Dublin (UCD), with the signing of a new research endeavour.

The €4m project announced today (10 January) aims to leverage deep data science and AI expertise at the research centre, including machine learning, user modelling and recommender systems.

The end goal is to help Samsung create smarter products and more personalised experiences for its customers as it competes in a hotly contested space, with Silicon Valley giant Amazon dominating the AI personal assistant sphere with Amazon Echo and Alexa.

The three-year research project will be led by Prof Barry Smyth, Dr Aonghus Lawlor and associate professor Neil Hurley, and will involve a team of more than 25 researchers and staff from Samsung and UCD.

In addition, the funding will allow for the establishment of 12 new research posts at UCD, with the possibility of placement opportunities at Samsung’s research facilities in the UK and in South Korea for all researchers involved at the Insight Centre.

‘We expect to see impactful results’

“Until now, we have been living in what can be termed the era of ‘search’, but this is now changing due to converging technologies,” said Baekjun Lim, vice-president and head of the Data Intelligence Lab at Samsung Electronics.

“Today, people are searching less, with recommendation features filling the gap. Given this environment, we are extremely excited about the opportunity to work with world-class experts in the field of recommendation systems at UCD, and we expect to see impactful results from this collaboration.”

Smyth meanwhile welcomed the news as a sign of Ireland’s competitiveness on the global stage when it comes to AI and machine learning.

“Ireland has an excellent reputation in machine learning and recommender systems, and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics is delighted to be working with Samsung to help bring our innovative technologies out of the lab to Samsung devices and customer base,” he said.

The Insight Centre is a joint initiative between researchers at UCD, NUI Galway, University College Cork, Dublin City University and other partner institutions. The €75m centre is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and a wide range of industry partners.

A Samsung Galaxy S8. Image: Leszek Kobusinski/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic