From virtual machines to the Memorandum of Understanding with AWS

Delving into the realm of artificial intelligence research demands significant computational power, often relying on specialized hardware components. When we established KInIT over three years ago, our infrastructure consisted of only a handful of laptops and a couple of donated monitors. From the very beginning, we faced a crucial question – what will we compute on?

It was evident that relying solely on our own hardware was not a viable option. Scaling our hardware to cater to the needs of several dozen researchers and accommodating varying workloads posed a significant challenge, so we decided to seek a cloud solution. Furthermore, the cloud environment mitigates risks such as the leakage of cooling fluids over a server full of graphics cards – but that’s a story for another time.

We explored our options and discovered that AWS, a premier cloud service provider, offers the AWS Activate program that is designed to support startups. Through this initiative, we obtained credits that helped cover our computational costs for nearly two years, marking the beginning of our cooperation with AWS.

Initially relying on standard (yet very powerful) virtual machines, we progressively transitioned to experimenting with specialized services like Amazon SageMaker. This platform proved priceless in conducting experiments with large language models, for example.

Our joint discussions with the AWS team based in Prague were equally interesting, providing a forum for sharing experiences and discussing future possibilities for the use and development of artificial intelligence. We believe that based on these discussions, AWS has decided to provide us with additional credits for a first “research proof of concept” after the Activate program ended. Currently, we are immersed in another initiative, aimed at advancing Slovak Natural Language Processing (NLP). We will definitely talk more about it!

We deeply value the support received from AWS and are proud to have signed at the end of 2023 a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in the fields of AI and Machine Learning. By providing knowledge and expertise as well as an access to dedicated programs, like AWS Cloud Credit for Research, AWS will support our efforts to progress the Slovak AI ecosystem as well as our ongoing research in AI/ML.  We are convinced that this collaboration will help us continue our work and foster innovations in the dynamic field of artificial intelligence.

Signing the memorandum