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AWS and IRCAI launch Compute for Climate Fellowship fund to battle climate crisis

Written by Thu 27 Jul 2023

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the Compute for Climate Fellowship, supporting the creation of solutions that address the climate crisis.

In partnership with UNESCO-backed International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI), the first-of-its-kind program will look for entrepreneurs and startups that apply advanced cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Fellowship will fully fund the building of proofs of concepts, helping startups and entrepreneurs ethically leverage AI and advanced computing to build groundbreaking solutions that address some of the key challenges created by the climate crisis.

“Artificial intelligence is quickly developing as both an academic and practical discipline. At IRCAI, we aim not only to be a guiding post in the development of these new technologies, but also to ensure they are a force for good for humanity,” said John Shawe-Taylor, Director at IRCAI.

IRCAI and AWS will select proposals that think big, have the most innovative use of advanced cloud computing, and the biggest promise for global impact.

Six key problem areas in the fight against climate change were identified, including climate risk and resilience, food security, biodiversity and conservation, climate-related health, circular economy, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analytics.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our generation and our message to the innovators out there with this program is: bring us your boldest, most visionary ideas and we’ll help you build them for free,” said Howard Wright, VP and Global Head of Startups at AWS.

Through the fellowship, global climate tech startups will have access to a variety of technical resources to build their POCs. Both IRCAI and AWS will provide selected startups with a team of experts in AI, sustainability and ethics. Access to advanced computing services like high-performance computing, generative AI, and machine learning will also be provided.

“[With this offering] the Compute for Climate Fellowship will continue our mission of driving sustainability through the cloud and hopefully help us change the course of the climate crisis,” added Wright.

All POCs must be designed under the guidelines of UNESCO’s Ethics Impact Assessment for Artificial Intelligence to ensure solutions are built with trustworthy technology. The organisations hope to advance IRCAI’s goal of applying ethical and cutting-edge research in AI, as well as provide new solutions to AWS customers interested in becoming more sustainable.

Applications received by 31 August 2023 will be selected for development still this year. Applications submitted after 1 September 2023 will be considered for development in 2024.

Closing in on the climate crisis

In July 2023, the world recorded its hottest day ever with the highest average temperatures across the globe, according to data from the U.S. National Centers on Environmental Prediction. Wildfires, floods, droughts, and rising sea levels are commonplace, posing real threats to food security, health, and biodiversity.

Thousands of tech startups are innovating in order to delay and reverse these impacts. Advanced computing and artificial intelligence have already shown great promise in helping create solutions to fight climate change.

IRCAI have begin mapping AI solutions across the world that are contributing to the advancements of the UN Global Sustainability Goals.

Meanwhile, AWS support customers developing early-warning systems for food insecurity, analytics for health equity in the context of climate change, and intelligence to power the circular economy.

Since the global development and adoption of generative AI, new solutions are coming to the fore. AWS is helping customers explore how Large Language Models (LLMs) can remediate biodiversity loss, support mental health interventions, and foster innovation for the automotive industry to meet net-zero goals, electrification, and circularity.

The Compute for Climate Fellowship is the most recent in a long line of initiatives to help conquer the climate crisis and provide sustainable options for the betterment of the tech industry.

In navigating these changes, the sustainability-focused data centre stakeholders can play a pivotal role in the UK’s progress towards its net-zero targets.

In November of 2022, 65 founding members joined the Semiconductor Climate Consortium (SCC) including Google, Intel, Microsoft, Nikon, Samsung, Schneider Electric, and Western Digital. This was the first global collaborative of semiconductor ecosystem companies to tackle the issue of reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain.

“While individual companies have taken significant steps to decarbonise, the industry must band together to develop green solutions and drive toward net-zero. I encourage every company across the value chain to join the SCC and contribute to this crucial mission,” said Ajit Manocha, SEMI president and CEO.

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Written by Thu 27 Jul 2023

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