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U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign partners with Amazon to launch new AI R&D center

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has partnered with Amazon to launch a new center for the development of advanced AI technologies.

The Amazon-Illinois Center for Conversational Experiences (AICE) will support UIUC researchers in an effort to develop AI into a new, more intelligent form.

In a recent event aimed at outlining the center’s goals, Amazon Director of Applied Science Ruhi Sarikaya explained that AICE will work towards making AI tools such as Alexa act as an “indispensable assistant” in the home.

Sarikaya presented a slide comparing the previous Alexa generation to the possible capabilities of a new household Amazon technology that could tell someone when a baby is crying, turn on the lights, and independently open, close, and lock doors.

Heng Ji, professor at UIUC and director of AICE, says the center will also focus on AI’s utilization in drug discovery, which could present opportunities in cancer research and other health-related fields.

Amazon will invest $1 million into AICE over two years, with a portion of the funds supporting five research projects in the first year.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

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