Leading US universities engaged in AI research have joined tech giants Google, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM, and NVIDIA in backing legislation aimed at establishing a roadmap for the creation of a national AI research cloud. Organizations such as the Allen Institute for AI, IEEE, and OpenAI are also supporting the bipartisan and bicameral National AI Research Resource Task Force Act.
It’s hoped the research cloud would remove high-cost compute and data resource entry barriers, democratize AI R&D outside of elite universities and big technology companies, and further enable the application of AI approaches across scientific fields and disciplines, said US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Chair Eric Schmidt and Vice Chair Bob Work in a press release.
The idea of a national AI research cloud was first proposed last year by Fei-Fei Li and John Etchemendy, co-directors of the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI) at Stanford University. A March 2020 HAI blog post envisions the National Research Cloud as a partnership between academia, government, and industry to provide researchers with affordable access to high-end computational resources, large-scale government-held datasets in a secure cloud environment, and necessary expertise.
HAI says the creation of a such a US government-led National Research Cloud task force is essential to maintain US competitiveness in AI and the nation’s status as a leader in AI research.
Twenty-two US universities signed a letter addressed to President Trump and US Congress in support of the research cloud, saying it “could be one of the most strategic research investments the federal government has ever made.”
The National AI Research Resource Task Force Act was introduced in the US House of Representatives last month by Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ); and in the Senate by the founding co-chairs of the Senate AI Caucus Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).
The legislation would assemble a group of technical experts across academia, government and industry to develop a detailed plan for how the US can build, deploy, govern and sustain a national AI research cloud.
Journalist: Yuan Yuan | Editor: Michael Sarazen
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