Jul 07 2023

National Science Foundation Announces 7 New AI Research Institutes

The institutes will study potential uses and risks associated with fast-advancing artificial intelligence technology.

Funding from the National Science Foundation will help create seven new National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes at campuses throughout the country to “advance a cohesive approach to AI-related opportunities and risks,” according to a press release issued by the NSF in May.

A $140 million investment from the NSF will support research at seven universities, each covering a different potential use or risk associated with advances in AI, including in cybersecurity, climate studies, ethics and the expansion of educational opportunities. The institutes are:

In addition to conducting research, the NSF expects the institutes to “support the development of a diverse AI workforce in the U.S. and help address the risks and potential harms posed by AI.” Through this and other projects, the NSF and its partners have now invested nearly $500 million in AI research.

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“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 wayChatbots 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.”

UP NEXT: Learn how to avoid four common AI mistakes.

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