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Task force recommends new U.S. federal office to promote AI research

The final report from the government’s National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) recommends a new, multibillion-dollar research organization to improve the capabilities and accessibility of the artificial intelligence field to U.S. scientists. The document presents “a roadmap and implementation plan for a national cyberinfrastructure aimed at overcoming the access divide, reaping the benefits of greater brainpower and more diverse perspectives and experiences.”

The NAIRR report (available here) is the culmination of the task force’s work, which has been ongoing since 2020 under the direction of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The report says federal help is needed to realize the positive and transformative potential of AI. That progress is tied to access to large amounts of computational power and data, which is difficult to access for organizations without big dollars to spend. This large and growing resource divide has the potential to limit and adversely skew the U.S. AI research ecosystem, NAIRR maintains. .

A widely accessible AI research cyberinfrastructure that brings together computational resources, data, testbeds, algorithms, software, services, networks, and expertise – which the task force recommends — would help to democratize the AI research and development landscape for the benefit of all.

The task force proposes a new independent research organization that would organize and oversee that infrastructure. However, they don’t advise building new data centers, at least at first,  but rather working with partners who can assign existing resources to the project – partners such as private companies, national labs, and universities.

Congress would need to fund the new organization, and NAIRR pegs an appropriate funding level at approximately $750 million every two years over a six-year period, totaling $2.25 billion plus another $60 million to $70 million per year for ongoing operations. Those figures don’t include any associated grants, which would likely be funded through the National Science Foundation or other existing programs.

“We see the NAIRR as a foundational investment that would amplify efforts across the Federal Government to cultivate AI innovation and advance trustworthy AI,” the task force states in the intro to the final report. “Research, experimentation, and innovation are integral to our progress as a Nation, and it is imperative that we engage people from every zip code and every background to live up to America’s unique promise of possibility and ensure our leadership on the world stage.”

Source: TechCrunch

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