Pamplona (EFE).- Navarra will have an Artificial Intelligence Research Center (NAIR Center) that aims to be among the European reference centers in this field within eight years.
The NAIR Center stands between the applied research of existing research and technology centers and the basic research of universities.
Likewise, the new center is aligned with business needs thanks to its link with the Digital Innovation Pole of Navarra-IRIS, next to which it will be located in the El Sario building of the Public University of Navarra (UPNA), has reported in press conference the Minister of University, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Juan Cruz Cigudosa.
NAIR Center will focus on investigating specific areas through teams made up of both internationally renowned researchers and younger ones. These research teams will be made up of biologists, chemists, doctors, data scientists, computer scientists and programmers, among other profiles.
Three main lines of work
The scientific director of the Center, Humberto Bustince, has outlined three large areas of research in which they are working.
The first line focuses on computational neuroscience. The objective is to develop processes capable of using Artificial Intelligence to understand the principles that govern the development, structure, physiology and cognitive abilities of the nervous system. With this knowledge, it seeks to apply artificial techniques and procedures.
This line of research, Bustince explained, is useful, for example, for people who cannot speak and who can communicate with the environment with the help of AI, or people who have suffered a stroke and have part of their body paralyzed and could use exoskeletons. .
The second of the research areas focuses on disruptive Artificial Intelligence. Its aim is to address specific problems with a high potential to cause scientific and economic paradigm shifts.
Bustince has highlighted that this line of research will be focused especially on the “design of proteins on demand”, a technique that can be applied to areas such as the degradation of plastic in the environment, the creation of new materials, the extraction of hydrogen or the fight against Alzheimer’s.
In the area of health, he commented, this line, which allows the creation of three-dimensional digital images of proteins, is essential. Thus, it is known that, depending on its folding, a protein causes Alzheimer’s, and dehydrated insulin could even be made into pills for diabetics.
Finally, the third line corresponds to applied basic research. It focuses on developing new methods to improve and make the fusion of information more efficient in the different processes involved in Artificial Intelligence techniques and methods.
In addition, this area also explores techniques that allow machines to learn autonomously and develop solutions to different problems from the information and data available, using techniques called deep learning.
It is a matter, Bustince has pointed out, of creating an “explainable AI” that makes decisions and justifies them, for example the reason why it proposes to remove a part from a machine.
The need to be on the front line
These lines of work, Bustince stressed, are “a still photo” today, since knowledge about AI can change radically in a period of two years and that “forces us to be at the forefront and be the best” .
Minister Cigudosa has highlighted the relevance of this new center as part of the Provincial Executive’s commitment to Artificial Intelligence.
The objective, he stated, is to investigate algorithms and offer technological solutions based on AI at a local and global level. Similarly, the counselor has valued public-private collaboration for the proper development of this project, as well as the need to attract talent in this area to “consolidate Navarra as a quality hub in the field of Artificial Intelligence ”.
For his part, the manager of the NAIR Center, Gorka García, has emphasized the fundamental role of this center as a one-stop shop for Artificial Intelligence in Navarra, complementing and reinforcing the areas of knowledge existing in Navarra entities and companies. “Collaboration agreements are being formalized with various entities and participating as a partner in different calls for projects,” he pointed out.