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January 24, 2024 | Tom Ballard

New pilot program announced to power responsible AI discovery and innovation

In response to Executive Order 14110, the National Science Foundation is leading the effort with 10 other federal agencies and 25 non-governmental organizations.

The goal of a new initiative announced Wednesday and led by the National Science Foundation (NSF) is to strengthen and democratize access to critical resources necessary to power responsible artificial intelligence (AI) discovery and innovation.

Known as the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) pilot, the effort involves a collaboration among 10 other federal agencies and 25 private sector, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations. It will provide access to advanced computing, datasets, models, software, training, and user support to U.S.-based researchers and educators. By connecting researchers and educators with the resources needed to support their work, the NAIRR pilot will power innovative AI research and, as it continues to grow, inform the design of the full NAIRR ecosystem. This pilot is a proof of concept to ignite the level of investment needed to realize the full NAIRR vision.

The pilot’s operations will be organized into four focus areas:

  • NAIRR Open will enable open AI research through access to diverse AI resources via the NAIRR Pilot Portal and coordinated allocations.
  • NAIRR Secure, co-led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Energy (DOE), will enable AI research requiring privacy and security-preserving resources and will assemble exemplar privacy preserving resources.
  • NAIRR Software will facilitate and investigate the inter-operable use of AI software, platforms, tools, and services for NAIRR pilot resources.
  • NAIRR Classroom will reach new communities through education, training, user support, and outreach.

“The breadth of partners that have come together for this pilot underscores the urgency of developing a National AI Research Resource for the future of AI in America,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. ”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. NSF is proud to lead this effort with our current and future partners.”

The two dozen plus private sector, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations include a bluechip list – Amazon Web Services, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, and OpenAI for starters. In addition to NSF, NIH and DOE, other federal participants include the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, and Veterans Affairs along with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) , National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) , and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The launch meets a goal outlined in Executive Order 14110, signed by President Joe Biden in October 2023, directing NSF to launch a pilot for NAIRR within 90 days. As the pilot expedites the proof of concept, future investments in NAIRR will democratize access to AI innovation and support critical work advancing the development of trustworthy AI.

Learn more at this link.


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