Curtin University and Optus Business have formed a new research group which will focus on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on regional telecommunications, higher education and the urban environment.

Formed as part of a five-year alliance, the AI research group is embedded in the School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Curtin University, with strong links to the Curtin Institute for Computation.

The broader alliance will leverage synergies between Curtin’s research, teaching and learning capabilities, and Optus’ technology and infrastructure capabilities, the companies said.

It will involve the appointment of an Optus Chair in Artificial Intelligence and three Optus Research Fellows focusing on applying artificial intelligence technologies in areas such as regional telecommunications, improving higher education student outcomes and the urban environment, as well as funding for PhD scholarships and student projects.

The formal announcement was made last week by Optus Business Managing Director John Paitaridis and Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry.

“This five-year alliance is built on a shared vision and strong track record of industry engagement and innovation,” Terry said.

She said it will also help Curtin University to train the highly skilled and industry-ready students of the future.

“The development of artificial intelligence is among the most exciting and emerging areas of research and as a leading science and technology research university, Curtin is the perfect partner for this project.”

Paitaridis said digital transformation remained a top priority for most Australian enterprises and governments.

“Fully realising the application of technology, like artificial intelligence, is critical in how we’re helping organisations address digital disruption.”

“Great innovation comes from collaboration, which is why we are so pleased to be joining with Curtin to create a Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence by bringing together the experience and expertise of industry and academia,” he said.

“Importantly, this partnership will help build real-world solutions while growing the skills of the future workforce.”

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