AI4EU, the H2020 initiative for a sovereign AI platform in Europe
#Europe #AI #platform
Jul 24, 2019

Meet Horizon 2020, the brand new E.U. R&D program

You may have heard about H2020, Horizon 2020, the new research and development program of the European Union. Launched in 2014 and following several other programs promoting and investing in research, this is the first on who correlate innovation with research.

With 79 billion euros, it’s not maybe the biggest investment made in R&D in a single program ever made by the EU but also a completely new approach. Procedures have been largely simplified in order to let everyone participate, and not big companies used to work with institutions and having the workforce to do all the paperwork to enter. No. Here, it’s open to everyone, universities, small businesses, tech & services companies, with a strong focus on the ones for whom it’s the first application, as well as young researchers and scientists. Europe wants more innovation, a different way of seeing the world. They are rewarding thinking outside the box and bringing disruptive ideas on the table, especially when the emphasis is made on population preoccupations and societal issues.

There are 3 pillars in H2020 (Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership and Better Society) which are well described in the following video.

What’s AI4EU, the EU initiative to get back their sovereignty in the A.I. game?

AI4EU is one of the H2020 projects, with a total envelope of 20 million euros, including 3 million euros for funding other projects that will serve the needs of the initiative. 80 partners in one consortium will work for 3 years, starting January 2019, in order to develop a European ecosystem around Artificial Intelligence. From communication (raising awareness about AI, how it will or already shape the world around us, how to make it benefit the humankind …) to organisation ( Putting in place an Ethic committee which will work on all the ethic question around the use of A.I., creating an online collaborative platform …) passing by some sort of lobbying (pushing for a European Agenda regarding A.I., having a strong Ethic committee or even funding or help funding some initiatives).

There are 8 pilots planned in AI4EU in 8 different topics, one for each: Citizen, Industry, Media, IoT, Robotics, Healthcare, Agriculture, Cybersecurity.

What Smile is doing in this initiative?

As one of the biggest European solution integration expert, we are doing what we know to do the best 😃 : we are making the different technical solutions working together and the different systems talking to each other.

We started with the conception phase of the new IT platform which needed :

  • To be scalable. If there’s a peak of users or just if we are scaling up the number of them, the platform needs to grow accordingly. But the other way around is also true, in order to better handle the running costs. This way of thinking our IT platform has some effects on how the solutions can or cannot work, we are also working on.

  • To be resilient. Intrusion or DDOS attacks, of course, are the scenario we are looking at closely. How to make the platform handling them a better way to prevent any service disruption, as well as information leaks. But that’s not “just” that. Charge peak, as we already said, are something we are paying extra attention, and more generally, having a fault-tolerant architecture that can heal itself.

  • Hosting agnostic. Of course, who is saying EU initiative also say that’s not gonna run on private GAFAM cloud. But that’s why we have Terralab onboard, and benefits from their knowledge in hosting research project. We’ll use containers, automatic deployment, kubernetes, docker registry …. all the cool but well-proven technology.

So if you have to sum up in a few words, we are working both on the IT architecture and on the solution integration altogether.