Cloud research test-bed launched by Oxford University and Amazon Web Services

The partnership will focus on creating a research portfolio on projects in AI, robotics and more

The University of Oxford has announced a new strategic partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), focusing on the development of research projects in AI, robotics, cyber-physical systems and human-centred computers; all while supporting the university’s new ‘lighthouse’ doctoral scholarships, which will provide funding for 25 PhD students.

Backed by a £7m gift from AWS to Oxford’s Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, the pairing will drive advances in AI and data science across the institution’s entire research portfolio.

“Cloud computing is an essential part of modern research. A streamlined operating model for using cloud services will benefit all our researchers. The Oxford Robotics Institute, the Cyber Physical Systems Group and the Human-Centred Computing group are leading the initial projects in the short-term, but I look forward to growing the collaboration to bring research benefits across our research work more broadly,” said Professor Patrick Grant, pro-vice-chancellor of research at the university.

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Professor Nick Hawes of the Oxford Robotics Institute, and coordinator of the activity within the human-machine collaboration initiative, commented: “This initiative will drive the creation of cloud-first processes for research, including international collaboration, governance, reproducability, publishing and translation.

“The Oxford-AWS strategic collaboration will create eight research projects in topics around autonomy in human contexts across the Departments of Engineering and Computer Science. These will seed the development of a larger AI and robotics ecosystem over the coming years, involving over 50 organisations (universities and companies and public sector stakeholders), and over 60 postdoctoral researchers and PhD students in joint projects.”

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