Miðeind and The University of Iceland awarded a substantial EU grant for AI project

The University of Iceland and Miðeind ehf. have received funding from the European Union's Horizon research program for a project related to the development of a large language model (LLM) for Germanic languages, including Icelandic.

The project, named TrustLLM, is being conducted in a collaboration of 11 partners across Northern Europe. Among them are Linköping University and AI Sweden in Sweden, the German Fraunhofer Research Institute, Alexandra Instituttet in Denmark, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the Jülich Supercomputing Centre, and the research institute TNO in the Netherlands.

The total funding for the project amounts to seven million euros, or approximately one billion Icelandic króna, with Miðeind and the University of Iceland sharing roughly a fifth of that amount. The project officially began on November 1st and is expected to run for three years.

The goal of TrustLLM is to build a language model (in a similar vein as e.g. the GPT models from OpenAI) that supports Germanic languages, with a particular focus on the languages with fewer speakers within that group. The project will investigate methods to achieve maximum proficiency in each language even where the amount of available training data is limited. Special emphasis will be placed on the reliability and trustworthiness of the model's output, as well as minimizing bias and undesirable responses. Computational methods will be developed to reduce energy consumption during model training and usage.

"It is an incredible boost for Icelandic AI and language technology to receive such substantial funding from the Horizon program. The funding is of course welcome as such, but the connections and collaborations that will emerge, along with the opportunity to work with leading European researchers in this rapidly advancing field, are something we look forward to and expect great things from," says Linda Heimisdóttir, CEO of Miðeind.

"At the University of Iceland, we are proud to participate in this important collaborative project in the field of artificial intelligence. The development of language models for smaller languages like Icelandic is a crucial element in ensuring that the language continues to thrive and evolve in the digital age. By participating in the TrustLLM project, we are safeguarding Icelandic and contributing to the development of technology that will benefit future generations. The project will also strengthen the University's connections with leading companies and researchers in Europe, further enhancing the international presence of Icelandic," says Hafsteinn Einarsson, lecturer in computer science at the University of Iceland, who is involved in the project along with Morris Riedel, a professor in the same field.