An AI research center supported by a federal grant of up to 1 billion rubles will be launched at Skoltech by 2024. Led by Skoltech associate professor Evgeny Burnaev, the new center will focus on AI technologies to help optimize management decision-making on carbon footprint reduction. Possible applications will include models that consolidate data from satellites and carbon polygons to monitor emissions and absorption of greenhouse gases and identify the carbon balance, an enterprise ESG risk management platform and a self-learning reservoir model for optimizing CO2 injection scenarios as an element of the carbon capture and storage technology.
AI will help gather, consolidate and use data for a flexible hierarchy of predictive models. The center’s team plans to contribute to the advancement of fundamental AI methods oriented toward specific applications, including AI tools for combining research models of physical, environmental, economic, and other processes with ML models (physics-informed AI) and energy-efficient AI methods, such as fast algorithms for neural network training and compression, which will be used to process multimodal data and build predictive models. Skoltech’s leading AI and ESG research teams to join the program are the AI Technology Center led by professor Ivan Oseledets and the Energy Transition and ESG Center directed by professor Andrei Osiptsov.
Once adopted by the industry, new technologies will help reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions while enabling companies to optimize the cost of using AI, make their businesses more attractive to shareholders and boost revenues. The center is expected to provide expert support to companies to bring new technology to the industry and actualize their products.
36 Russian organizations joined the AI research center competition. The working group of 16 experts headed by Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Chernyshenko announced the final selection results and named six winners, including Skoltech, that will lead AI development in Russia and receive grants of up to 1 billion rubles each. The total funding, including extra-budgetary sources, will amount to 7 billion rubles.
Alexander Kuleshov, President of Skoltech
Digitization is both a necessity in the modern world and the first step towards a new technological setup. Considering that Skoltech researchers account for nearly 40% of all Russian A* publications on AI, it is no wonder that we have won the grant. With our new AI center in place, we will gladly contribute our expertise to the common cause for the benefit of the Russian society.
Evgeny Burnaev, head of the AI Research Center
In 2021, the Nobel Prize in Physics was rightly awarded “for the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”, presently one of the hottest topics in the world. This is yet another argument in favor of the Center’s decision to focus on an extremely important area of applied research. AI helps analyze and deduce critical trends from objective climate observations, and our goal is to enhance the prediction accuracy of existing models by applying ML tools to huge sets of data.
Maxim Eremenko, Senior Managing Director and Head of the AI and ML Department at Sber
Environmental protection and carbon footprint reduction are currently the key challenges facing the economy in Russia and worldwide. AI can be of great help in addressing these tasks: according to recent research, 80% of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved much faster using AI. Developing AI-based ESG risk monitoring, prediction and optimization applications is among the priority tasks on the new center’s agenda. This encouraged Sber to enter into an industrial partnership and sign a co-financing agreement with Skoltech in order to jointly compete for the grant. I wish the future center every success in attaining its goals!”
Timur Supataev, Director for Strategic Digital Partnerships at Gazprom Neft and Director of the Association for Artificial Intelligence in Industry
Creating this kind of research centers allows building strong research teams and developing unique approaches that can help address currently intractable problems and be eventually transferred to many industries.
Pavel Glotov, CEO of CityAir
Right from the start of our collaboration, our Skoltech colleagues delved into the study of the high-resolution weather forecast problem and other specifics of our subject domain. Leveraging their expertise in natural sciences and AI, they proposed a promising new class of models that combine physical process and ML models. We look forward to further pioneering research endeavors!
Alexander Krainov, Head of the Machine Intelligence Laboratory at Yandex
The quality of university research and the quality of training are strongly correlated. This is the first time that computer science has received such generous investment. This leads us to expect impressive growth in the number of high-quality graduates, which would give a powerful impetus to the industry.
+7 (495) 280 14 81