20 Feb

NSF Collaborates with Silicon Valley for Advancing AI Research

    In an effort to uphold the United States’ leadership in AI research, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has initiated a groundbreaking project in collaboration with prominent tech giants.

    The NSF, renowned for its pivotal role in expanding the Internet from a defense project into the omnipresent entity it is today, has unveiled a partnership with leading tech companies to propel advancements in AI.

    The initiative, named the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) pilot program, aims to establish a national repository of AI technologies accessible to researchers and educators nationwide.

    The roster of private industry collaborators reads like a who’s who of the AI realm: Amazon, Anthropic, HPE, Hugging Face, IBM, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, OpenAI, and Palantir. Additionally, several federal agencies are set to participate, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, NASA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Agriculture.

    Sethuraman Panchanathan, director of the NSF, remarked, “By investing in AI research through the NAIRR pilot, the United States unleashes discovery and impact and bolsters its global competitiveness.”

    “To continue leading in AI research and development, we must create opportunities across the country to advance AI innovation and strengthen educational opportunities, empowering the nation to shape international standards and igniting economic growth,” he added.

    The NAIRR initiative emerged following the issuance of Executive Order 14110 by President Joe Biden in October 2023, mandating the NSF to launch a pilot for NAIRR within 90 days. The NAIRR is envisioned as a shared national infrastructure intended to furnish communities nationwide with the requisite hardware, models, and resources essential for advancing the AI ecosystem.

    Initially, the NAIRR pilot will support AI research aimed at promoting safe, secure, and trustworthy AI applications, as well as fostering the utilization of AI in critical domains such as healthcare, environmental sustainability, and infrastructure development.

    The pilot’s operations will be structured around four principal focus areas:

    1. NAIRR Open: Facilitating open AI research through access to diverse AI resources via the NAIRR Pilot Portal and coordinated allocations.
    2. NAIRR Secure: Co-led by NIH and DOE, focusing on enabling AI research requiring privacy and security-preserving resources, and assembling exemplary privacy-preserving resources.
    3. NAIRR Software: Facilitating and exploring interoperable use of AI software, platforms, tools, and services for NAIRR pilot resources.
    4. NAIRR Classroom: Extending outreach to new communities through education, training, user support, and outreach initiatives.

    Researchers can explore and apply for initial access to NAIRR pilot resources through the NAIRR pilot portal at nairrpilot.org.

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