Quantum and AI centre launched with Cisco

[10/03/2023] The University has established a new software centre of excellence with technology giant Cisco.

Human hands on computer keyboard

The centre will fund research projects over the next five years to deliver leading-edge software solutions, with particular focus on quantum computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security.  

The University's School of Informatics a is the UK’s oldest academic AI research centre, and this year celebrates 60 years of computer science and AI research. 


Close ties

The launch of the Quantum & AI Centre of Excellence follows several years of close collaboration.

Since 2017, the University and Cisco have worked together on a number of projects in areas such as speech technologies, legal implications of artificial intelligence, network traffic analysis and quantum programming languages.

The centre is led by Dr Chris Heunen, Reader in Quantum Informatics at the School of Informatics, supported by Michael Rovatsos, Professor of Artificial Intelligence.

I am delighted to lead the new Quantum Computing & AI focussed Centre of Excellence with Cisco and I look forward to bringing together our expertise to push forward developments in these transformational technologies. Our aim is to combine our collective strengths to help shape the development of software technologies to benefit our economy and society as a whole.

Dr Chris Heunen
Reader in Quantum Informatics and Director of Cisco Software Centre of Excellence at the University of Edinburgh

Cisco Research is excited to expand our strategic university partnerships in the UK with the inclusion of the University of Edinburgh. Our goal is to collaborate with and fund research teams that are solving important technological challenges that will allow us to provide innovative and transformative solutions for our customers.

Ramana Kompella
Head of Cisco Research

Driving innovation

Edinburgh and Cisco also formed a partnership in 2019 to accelerate innovation by supporting 20 start-ups through the University’s AI Accelerator Programme.

In 2021, Cisco and Edinburgh joined forces as part of a £12.5 million project to help older people live at home for longer and with greater independence. The project – called Blackwood Neighbourhoods for Independent Living – is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

This year the internet marked its 40th anniversary, and over five billion people around the world are now online. But continued research and innovation is vital to put the internet on a more secure and sustainable footing. Our partnership with the University of Edinburgh will help progress leading research in the AI and quantum computing technologies that will become the cornerstone of the internet of tomorrow.

Chintan Patel
Chief Technology Officer, Cisco UK & Ireland

Research milestone

The announcement of the new centre is the latest development in computer science and AI since the University established its first research hubs in the disciplines 60 years ago.

A year-long programme of events will mark achievements over the past six decades and look to the future of computer science and AI at Edinburgh.

More information about the 60 year celebration: edin.ac/60-years-computer-science-ai

This new centre represents the next step in our journey with Cisco. Over the last five years we have developed an extremely successful partnership, with potential benefits across a wide range of applications. Software now touches most areas of daily life and it is essential that we maintain our research efforts to ensure that the software developed and deployed is of the highest standards. We are grateful to Cisco for joining us in this endeavour.

Professor Jane Hillston
Head of School of Informatics

Related links


60 years of computer science and AI

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