IBM and Spanish government to advance Spanish-language AI models

sky-view photograph of Madrid, the Spanish capital during a sunny day

The government of Spain and IBM executives have met at the Moncloa Complex to reach a new agreement in the field of AI and supercomputing.

The collaboration aims to help develop foundational models for AI in native Spanish and co-official languages (Catalan, Basque, Galician and Valencian). It will also advance the development and practical deployment of open, ethical and responsible generative AI in Spain.

During the meeting, the attendees discussed challenges and initiatives rising in the field and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote their collaboration.

The parties shared their vision of creating a leading suite of foundation models including both LLMs and small language models (SLMs), proficient in the Spanish language and co-official languages.

Tapping into IBM’s open-source AI framework, communities will be able to shape and contribute to the Spanish LLM, increasing innovation, transparency and safety while ensuring a more cost-efficient, yet technologically competitive position in the market.

The collaboration also reflects the intention to develop AI-enhanced techniques to speed up the discovery, development and validation of new materials to increase the sustainability of the semiconductor value chain.

Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister of Spain, stressed that agreements such as this one “demonstrate Spain’s commitment to accelerate the ethical and responsible use of AI, particularly in the public sector, with great impact on productivity for many sectors of the economy and on Europe’s strategic autonomy”.

“AI positions us at the threshold of a new industrial revolution, with a very significant potential impact in terms of productivity gains for a large number of economic sectors and in providing better public services to our citizens,” minister José Luis Escrivá also said.

Darío Gil, IBM SVP and director of IBM Research also commented on the collaboration: “IBM shares this bold vision to accelerate the government of Spain’s AI strategy and to be the national AI partner for Spain.

“We will leverage IBM’s deep investments across the entire AI stack […] to enable an open community to drive the full potential of AI technologies. Together, we will work to foster the responsible use of AI to drive sustainable growth in Spain and all Spanish-speaking countries worldwide.”

As Spanish is the second leading spoken language in the world, IBM stressed that creating models in this language will enhance AI sustainability by reducing biases and providing competitive alternatives for the Spanish industry.

In line with its collaboration efforts, IBM also recently announced its partnership with Usher’s New Look through IBM SkillsBuild to create access to technology training for young people from communities historically underrepresented in technology.