“The National AI Research Institutes are a critical component of our nation’s AI innovation, infrastructure, technology, education and partnerships ecosystem,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in a press release. “These institutes are driving discoveries that will ensure our country is at the forefront of the global AI revolution.”
Advances in AI, particularly generative AI, sent shockwaves through higher education in late 2022, but as time has passed, colleges and universities have become increasingly invested in how to incorporate these AI advances in a positive way. Chatbots that help keep students connected to campus, especially during the summer, are one popular implementation, and the use and effectiveness of AI tutors figures to grow thanks to advances in natural language modelers.
NSF has supported AI research for years, and the outline for the research institutes program dates back to 2021, well before the release of headline-grabbing tools like ChatGPT.
“Foundational research in AI and machine learning has never been more critical to the understanding, creation and deployment of AI-powered systems that deliver transformative and trustworthy solutions across our society,” said Margaret Martonosi, the NSF’s assistant director for computer and information science and engineering, in the press release announcing the seven new institutes. “These recent awards, as well as our AI Institutes ecosystem as a whole, represent our active efforts in addressing national economic and societal priorities that hinge on our nation’s AI capability and leadership.”