UK and Canada Strengthen Collaboration on AI Infrastructure

The United Kingdom and Canada have formalised a series of agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation in the fields of AI research and compute infrastructure development. The commitment, expressed through these agreements, focuses on exploring ways to provide support to researchers and industry professionals by facilitating access to computing capacity. This collaborative effort follows a state visit to Canada by Michelle Donelan, the Secretary of State for Science and Technology.

During the visit, Michelle Donelan and François-Phillippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister for Innovation, Science, and Industry, jointly signed a memorandum of understanding on compute. Donelan emphasised the unique partnership between the UK and Canada in science, innovation, and technology, rooted in a shared aspiration to make a positive impact on the global stage. She highlighted the visit’s significance and the groundwork laid, ensuring both nations can continue to lead in harnessing the opportunities presented by new innovations in science and technology for decades to come.

These agreements build upon the existing collaboration between the two nations, particularly in AI regulation and research, established during the AI Safety Summit. Canada was among 28 nations that signed the Bletchley Declaration, laying the foundation for international cooperation in this critical domain. The UK government has also demonstrated its commitment by allocating over £1 billion to fund compute infrastructure, with recent investments from major entities like Google and Deutsche Bank in building new data centres within the UK.

François-Phillippe Champagne emphasised the positive impacts these memorandums of understanding will have on scientific research, innovation, and AI compute. He highlighted the potential to drive positive outcomes across various fields, accelerate business commercialisation, and foster connections among leading researchers. Champagne underscored the significance of these agreements in strengthening AI companies, enabling researchers, and promoting the sharing of research excellence globally, particularly with the Global South, to address international challenges.

In a related development, Canadian AI startup Cohere, a competitor to OpenAI (creator of ChatGPT), has entered talks to secure approximately $1 billion in funding from investors, showcasing the growing interest and investment in the AI sector.

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