CeADAR leads €8.7m EU project MANOLO to boost trust in AI and reduce energy consumption

CeADAR, Ireland’s Centre for AI, is leading an €8.7m EU project to develop AI tools, algorithms, and frameworks to make AI systems more trustworthy and energy efficient.

The MANOLO project brings together 18 partner organisations from eight European countries with the aim of developing AI resources to help reduce the amount of energy, memory, and storage required to train and run AI models, and create a framework to reverse the trend of declining user confidence in AI.

Researchers hope that the development of new techniques to create more energy efficient AI models will help alleviate the burden on national energy grids from data centres and other AI systems running on personal and embedded devices.

Minister of State in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Dara Calleary joined representatives from the European partners and CeADAR at the National Centre for Applied AI at University College Dublin (UCD) on February 7 to launch the project.

Partners from industry, business and academia used the launch event to discuss their roles and responsibilities as they bid to not only reduce the environmental impact of AI but also create a framework for designing and evaluating AI solutions by following and adopting trustworthy AI principles and requirements.

As part of this effort, MANOLO aims to develop a handbook with practical guidelines on how to apply the MANOLO framework and tools to help companies design trustworthy AI solutions. It is expected that the trustworthy algorithms and framework devised under MANOLO will help companies conform to the EU’s proposed legislation to regulate AI, the EU AI Act.

Over 36 months, researchers plan to develop and test their AI tools in laboratories before rolling them out for validation in a variety of industry settings. Some AI tools, for example, will be embedded in humanoid robots operating in manufacturing and healthcare environments, in low-power sensor devices for brain-computer interface, such as those that monitor sleep, and in mobile phones.

The resources will also be tested in neuromorphic chips, computer processors modelled on the neural systems of the human brain which can perform tasks faster than standard computer processers while using less power.

MANOLO is funded by Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5bn. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

Minister of State of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Dara Calleary said:

“CeADAR’s role as coordinators of MANOLO, a Horizon Europe-funded project, once again demonstrates Ireland’s ability to punch above its weight in terms of innovation in artificial intelligence and machine learning. It is hugely important that we make AI systems more energy efficient given that use of the technology is likely to become even more widespread in the coming years.

“We also welcome the work to reverse declining user confidence in AI and to provide more clarity around how AI systems work. These tools are going to underpin the workings of our society going forward and it’s vital that the public has total confidence that those in charge of their development are seen to be taking a fair, equitable and humancentric approach.”

Dr. Ricardo Simon Carbajo, Director of Innovation and Development at CeADAR and MANOLO Project Coordinator, said:

“CeADAR is very proud to serve as the leader of MANOLO, a major EU-funded project involving many of the top research and industry institutions in Europe. The aim of MANOLO is to create novel algorithms to make AI more trustworthy and energy efficient. The solution will plug into current AI systems, which will help organisations in Ireland and Europe achieve their energy efficiency targets. It will also provide tools and frameworks to evaluate and improve the trustworthiness of their AI systems while empowering humans and contributing to the good use of AI.”

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