March 27, 2024
French telecom giant Iliad pioneers a €100M investment in AI
AI

Iliad’s Multimillion-Euro Investment Aims to Propel France’s AI Sector

On September 26, the French telecommunications group Iliad unveiled its intention to allocate substantial financial resources to foster the growth of the artificial intelligence (AI) sector in France.

Iliad has disclosed that it has already committed an initial investment of 100 million euros ($106 million) to establish what it terms an excellence lab in Paris, dedicated solely to AI research. According to their official announcement, a team comprising renowned researchers has been assembled, and Iliad’s chairman, Xavier Niel, will be leading this endeavor.

This development closely follows European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s announcement on September 13th of an initiative aimed at assisting AI startups in Europe by facilitating accelerated access to supercomputing resources.

Niel emphasized the necessity of constructing an entire ecosystem within France to support AI development, with the research lab poised to play a pivotal role in this endeavor. The primary objective of the lab is to develop general AI capabilities that can be accessible to a wide audience, making AI research openly available.

In addition to establishing the lab, Iliad has acquired what it regards as the most potent cloud-native AI supercomputer ever deployed in Europe. A Nvidia DGX SuperPOD, equipped with Nvidia DGX H100 systems, has been installed at the company’s Datacenter 5 near Paris.

Regarding the acquisition of the Nvidia supercomputer, Niel commented by saying that to establish a strong presence in the AI market, substantial computing power is essential, and to secure such computing power, investments of significant magnitude are imperative.

The company asserts that the DGX SuperPOD possesses the computing capability required for rapid training of large language models (LLMs).

Furthermore, Iliad’s subsidiary, Scaleway, has announced its intention to provide clients with comprehensive access to a suite of cloud-native AI tools, including the capability to train models of various sizes.

Damien Lucas, the CEO of Scaleway, noted that these tools will empower European companies to make significant strides in AI innovation, enabling them to compete effectively on a global scale.

Image by pixabay

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