Facebook is donating 25 state-of-the-art GPU servers to European research labs in an effort to spur advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement from Berlin (via live video, of course) on behalf of the social network's AI Research division and its newly formed Research Partnership Program.
The first four servers will go to German computer science academic Klaus-Robert Müller for his research around image analysis of breast cancer and chemical modeling of molecules at the Technical University of Berlin.
Facebook will supply server recipients with all of the necessary software to run the servers and will also send some of its own researchers to various institutions for collaboration.
"VR is going to need 10 years to become a very mainstream big thing," Zuckerberg said at the event. "But we're committed to this. We have the resources to be able to invest and use these investments across the world to bring the research community into this."
Like most tech vendors these days, Facebook has bold ambitions for the future of intelligent computing and virtual reality.
"Our mission is to give anyone the power to express anything they're thinking about or want to experience," Zuckerberg explained.
Facebook created its AI lab in 2013 and has locations in Menlo Park, London, New York and Paris. In conjunction with the Paris operation, Facebook last summer signed a collaborative agreement with the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation to offer opportunities to bring on more local research professionals, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.
For the Research Partnership Program, Facebook is inviting research institutions to submit applications to receive servers by indicating the type of research they are doing and the number of researchers who would make use of the platform. The recipients will be selected based on select criteria and research alignment, Facebook said.