The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) has announced the launch of a one-year intensive African Master’s in Machine Intelligence (AMMI) in partnership with Facebook and Google.

Founded in 2003, AIMS is a Pan-African network of centres of excellence for post-graduate training, research and public engagement in mathematical sciences.

AIMS, together with its partners, believes creating an effective, globally connected community of Machine Intelligence (MI) practitioners in Africa will reduce the technology gap, strengthen Africa’s economies and enable better governance.

According to Founder and Director of the AMMI programme and Professor of Machine Learning at AIMS, Dr Mouhamadou Moustapha Cissé, the programme will train a generation of young scientists who will bring a fresh perspective to MI research and contribute to advancing its development across Africa.

“MI is revolutionising critical aspects of our lives. It enhances medical diagnosis, improves industrial processes and enables scientific discoveries. Over the past decade, thanks to large public and private investments, MI has progressed rapidly in both basic research and the development of a vast array of applications,” said Dr Cissé.

“However, the talent pool currently advancing MI is modest and unrepresentative of the diversity of our world, leaving us less capable of facing global challenges. The challenges we choose to work on are strongly influenced by our backgrounds and our environment,” continued Dr Cissé.

The AMMI programme will provide young Africans with state-of-the-art training in machine learning and its applications. Every course on AMMI will be lectured by leading experts from prestigious African and international institutions, providing the AMMI students with a strong foundation.

“We’re proud to be partnering with AIMS and Google to launch the AMMI programme. At Facebook our goal is to drive positive social and economic impact across Africa, and this partnership is another step-in driving innovation by supporting the continent’s already exciting tech ecosystem and talent pool,” said VP of Artificial Intelligence at Facebook, Jerome Pesenti.

“We’re excited to see how students will utilise advanced technologies to solve problems and build solutions for the future of Africa and the rest of the world. We look forward to seeing them contribute to the growing ecosystem of African MI scientists and bring a fresh perspective on the challenges tackled by the scientific community,” continued Pesenti.

Lead of AI at Google, Jeff Dean, added that the field of MI is advancing rapidly, and it’s therefore imperative that industry leaders, such as Google and Facebook, continue to partner with academic institutions like AIMS to develop the next generation of students who will build MI that benefits everyone.

“We look forward to working with AIMS to drive this effort through the AMMI programme. Along with our recent announcement of a Google AI centre, scheduled to open later this year in Ghana, this partnership with AIMS is another example of our long term investment and commitment to Africa,” said Dean.

According to Founder and Chair of the AIMS, Professor Neil Turok, through AMMI they hope to fast-track the entry of young African scientists into the exciting and relevant discipline that is MI. “We hope to replicate AMMI in other African countries, creating a pan-African network of centres for training and research of the highest international quality.”

“AMMI will open the doors to Africa’s most talented youth, enabling them to contribute to industry, government and science on the continent. They will be the pioneers of a growing ecosystem of African MI specialists bringing leading edge skills to Africa’s economy, governance and society at large. AMMI is a first step towards AIMS’ longer term goal of preparing Africa for the coming quantum revolution in information science and technology,” concluded Professor Turok.

The AMMI will begin in September 2018 at the AIMS-Rwanda campus in Kigali, more information can be found here.

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