Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, July 31, 2021

New $35M AI Research Center at Indiana University Created to Grow AI Education 

With the use of AI exploding in business, healthcare, research and other fields, Indiana University is opening a new $35 million AI center that aims to train more students in the study of AI, machine learning and related computer science disciplines.

The Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence, which was unveiled June 23 and will open in August for the start of the fall semester, includes 58,000 square feet of space designed to enable multidisciplinary research in the constantly expanding AI field.

The new AI center is part of the university’s 21-year-old Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, and will initially focus on robotics, complex networks, health and social media, according to the school. The center is also designed to bring in researchers and collaborators from other departments at the school, including from Indiana University’s health and life science schools.

The university has included AI in its computer science program for years, but the new Bloomington, Indiana-based center will allow the department to branch out even more as AI continues to be used across a growing range of industries.

Funding for the AI center comes from a larger $60 million gift in 2019 from alumnus Fred Luddy, who founded the cloud-based, automated IT help desk services company, ServiceNow.

Dennis Groth, Indiana University

“Our approach here has been to look at AI in as broad a way as we can, because that diversity, the different ways that we look at it will allow us to address problems in new and novel ways,” Dennis Groth, the interim dean of the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering and a professor of computer science at the university, told EnterpriseAI. “To embrace the differences and to bring people together from different areas to be involved in this, I think it is key.”

The gift that funded the new AI center is a recognition of the direction the school is already going, said Groth. “This helps us accelerate and go faster than we normally would have,” he said. The new center will allow the university to bring in more students and more faculty in the pursuit of new AI innovations and learning, he said.

Almost 4,000 students are already studying at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, and Groth said he estimates that the undergraduate and graduate program enrollments will grow by 50 percent in the future due to the growing interest in AI and other related studies. The school has about 175 faculty members.

“While it is predominantly going to be housing faculty that are working in the AI space, it is also going to be pulling together faculty from other parts of our campus that are predominantly advanced users in the application areas where AI is being used, [including] medicine linguistics, public health, brain science and more.” Said Groth. “We just keep putting different kinds of people together that are all connected to AI in one way or another. Over half of the faculty in our school identify their work as being connected to AI in one way shape or form.”

The Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering includes studies in computer science, informatics, cybersecurity, data science, intelligent systems engineering and more.

Clyde Seepersad, of the Linux Foundation

Clyde Seepersad, the general manager for training and certification at The Linux Foundation, told EnterpriseAI that the new AI center being established at Indiana University is a positive move for students of computer science and AI in general.

“It is great to see public universities investing to shape the future of AI,” said Seepersad. “Technologies like this blossom best when there is the broadest participation possible from industry, government, universities and passionate individuals. AI skills continue to be in short supply as evidenced by the eye popping salaries cited in the press. Initiatives like this which provide increased access to those wishing to pursue a career are very welcome.”

In May, IBM joined a $200 million, 10-year initiative to build a Discovery Accelerator Institute at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana to drive new research and innovations in some of the fastest-growing fields of study, including AI, hybrid cloud and quantum computing. The IBM-Illinois Discovery Accelerator Institute, which will be part of the Grainger College of Engineering at the school, will also focus on other emerging technologies including materials discovery and sustainability. The exact funding amounts from IBM, the university and the state are not being disclosed. The $200 million in investments will be used for building construction as well as for research, hiring additional faculty and related needs.

 

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