Russian Investment Fund Signs Deal With Saudi Research Center to Develop AI Projects

Sputnik, 14.10.2019

RIYADH, October 14 (Sputnik) - The Russian Direct Investment fund (RDIF), the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and the Saudi National Centre for Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AIBD) at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KASCT) have agreed to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technologies jointly.

The announcement was made on Monday on the sidelines of Russian President Vladimir Putin ’s visit to Riyadh, to which he was accompanied by a RDIF delegation.

"Russia sees the development of artificial intelligence as one of the key areas of its technological development strategy. We are pleased that Saudi Arabian partners share our interest in this area. Together with the AIBD at KACST and colleagues from the MIPT, we expect to find new opportunities to support the development of AI in our countries, strengthening mutual technological exchange and the competitiveness of the economies of the Russian Federation and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Kirill Dmitriev, RDIF's CEO, said.

This is RDIF's first joint project with a foreign partner in the field of AI technology. RDIF now plans to invest in Russian companies to develop IT infrastructure and the AI sector with the aim to bringing them to the global market in cloud technologies, data storage and processing centers.

The Saudi partner, the AIBD, expressed optimism over the project and its ability to create a momentum in the field of AI that would benefit all of the parties involved.

"The AIBD, RDIF and MIPT have a mutual understanding of shared priorities and objectives, and this is an opportunity to push the frontier of fundamental knowledge even further jointly and to pave the way to new technologies. With research centers of high priority in advancing technology and knowledge creation, we are glad that we are collaboratively working on various domains of AI and sharing resources," Ammar Alenzi, the center's director, said.

Loran Akopyan, the executive director of the MIPT center of optoelectronics, was also enthusiastic over the project's perspectives in the field of joint research and development in AI.

"We believe joint-R&D [research and development] partnerships across industries and the academia are key to successful project financing and new product development in the Era of AI and Digital Transformation. It is a privilege to be in discussions with the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Big Data of Saudi Arabia and RDIF. Together we share common R&D interests," Akopyan said,

On Thursday, Dmitriev announced that the RDIF would sign agreements worth over $2 billion during its visit to Riyadh.

Russia and Saudi Arabia have recently stepped up their cooperation. Last week, the RDIF announced that it would be opening its first foreign representative office in the kingdom. Additionally, the fund said that it had funded and approved over 25 joint projects, ranging across various sectors, worth over $2.5 billion in cooperation with the Saudi Public Investment Fund.