IIT Madras launches ‘Nilekani Centre at AI4Bharat’ to advance Indian language technology

BL Chennai Bureau | Updated on: Jul 29, 2022
AI4Bharat was set up as an initiative of IIT Madras to build open-source language AI for Indian languages.

AI4Bharat was set up as an initiative of IIT Madras to build open-source language AI for Indian languages. | Photo Credit: PICHUMANI K

Rohini and Nandan Nilekani support Centre with a grant of ₹36 crore through Nilekani Philanthropies

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has announced the launch of ‘Nilekani Centre at AI4Bharat’ to advance the state of Indian language technology with the support of Rohini and Nandan Nilekani with a grant of ₹36 crore through Nilekani Philanthropies.

In a press statement, the premier institute said the new Centre will work on advancing Indian language technology to create a wider impact. It was inaugurated by one of the donors and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani on Thursday. The launch event saw a workshop open to students, researchers, and startups to discuss the resources available to build Indian language technologies.

AI4Bharat was set up as an initiative of IIT Madras to build open-source language AI for Indian languages. Over the past two years, the team led by Mitesh Khapra, Pratyush Kumar, and Anoop Kunchukuttan made several contributions to Indian language technology, including state of the art models for machine translation and speech recognition, IIT Madras said. 

“The Digital India Bhashini mission has been launched with the goal of all services and information being available to citizens in their own language with ‘collaborative AI’ at the core of the design. AI4Bharat will further contribute to and accelerate the Indic language AI work as a public good and is fully aligned with the goals of the Bhashini mission,” Nilekani said. 

V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “I am happy that IIT Madras is taking a leadership role in Indian language AI, which is of national importance. I am looking forward to AI4Bharat’s cutting edge research being translated to real-world use.”

“While language technology has significantly improved for English and a few languages, Indian languages are lagging behind. The focus of the Centre would be to bridge this gap,” Mitesh M Khapra, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras, said. 

Published on July 28, 2022
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