Ambitious academic AI institution opens in Paris

A European university with deep historic roots is now home to an AI research center whose areas of concentration include healthcare.

Sorbonne University announced the opening of the Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) in Paris earlier this week.

The facility is set to host 100 scientists and 150 doctoral and post-doctoral researchers. And its initial headcount of around 300 students will include those attending a satellite center in the United Arab Emirates.

On Wednesday, the university, an offshoot of the Collège de Sorbonne founded in the 13th century, ran a quick Q&A with the inaugural director of SCAI (which is not to be confused with the U.S.-based organization using the same acronym, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions).

“Artificial intelligence raises more or less scientifically based concerns,” says the director, Gérard Biau, a Sorbonne professor of probability, statistics and modeling. “By mobilizing the critical spirit and the scientific approach, the human and social sciences will be able to help us to better analyze the relations that we have with these digital upheavals and their impacts on our existence.”

Along with healthcare, the new SCAI will concentrate on AI fundamentals and applications in mathematics, informatics, robotics, climate and environment, as well as on humanities issues that may be addressable by algorithms.  

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