Edinburgh University launches generative AI initiative

Edinburgh University has launched a multi-million pound initiative aimed at developing generative AI for the benefit of society.


The Generative AI Laboratory (GAIL) will unite the University’s research and innovation in AI to develop safe solutions and systems for industry and government. 

The initiative aims to develop techniques for generative AI in areas including robotics, drug discovery, medical diagnoses, semiconductor development, and tackling climate change.

Experts will also work in partnership with the University’s Centre for Technomoral Futures to address the ethical, legal and regulatory frameworks necessary to ensure the safe and responsible use of AI. 

In a statement, Professor Helen Hastie, head of School of Informatics, Edinburgh University, said: “GAIL builds on world-class research at the School of Informatics in AI and machine learning, which has been applied to a variety of fields such as healthcare, fintech and sustainability. The School is  well placed to be an anchor for the GAIL cross-disciplinary research and development, by forging key collaborations within the University and with external partners and policymakers.”

Generative AI is a type of machine learning that can be used to generate various types of content including text, images, audio, video and computer code.

The University said it has a well-established high performance computing infrastructure with an international reach, both of which are vital for building AI systems. It currently hosts ARCHER2, the UK’s national supercomputer, and will host Exascale, a next generation supercomputer capable of performing one billion billion calculations per second.

Professor Iain Gordon, vice principal and head of the College of Science and Engineering, Edinburgh University, said: “Edinburgh is uniquely placed to provide world-class leadership and expertise around generative AI. Once operational, this exciting initiative will create a new pipeline of talent with the skills to both benefit from and shape the economic and societal benefits of this transformational technology.”