Image: AI Hub

Penn State recently announced the opening of its AI Hub, an expanded initiative to grow AI across all campuses and collages while leading the development of innovations using AI and machine learning to create unique applications and solve difficult challenges. With the creation of this new hub, the university, which has a history of leveraging the power of technology for the betterment of its students and researchers, is poised to cement its status as a global leader in the field.

“Penn State is poised to take AI to new levels where researchers are already creating new knowledge and discoveries, from tackling climate change to developing new materials.”

Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly one of the cornerstones of Industry 4.0, and it is set to experience explosive growth over the next few years. Experts predict that the global market for AI will reach more than $190 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 33.2% from 2020 through 2027. So, it seems fitting that, here in Happy Valley, where Industry 4.0 and brilliant innovation continues to thrive, that Penn State is stepping up its efforts to lead the charge in AI research and development. Dozens of PSU’s colleges and campuses are already exploring how AI can help power their research, something that will continue spreading as growing as more tools and resources become available.

Senior Vice President for Research, Lora Weiss, said, “Penn State is poised to take AI to new levels where researchers are already creating new knowledge and discoveries, from tackling climate change to developing new materials.”

A Range of Focus, One Hub

The AI Hub brings the expertise of 75 researchers from 24 academic units in the university together into one interdisciplinary research center. In addition to the collaboration between the Social Science Research Institute and the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, the AI Hub also combines several faculty-led research centers and industry partnerships.

Founding director of one of those research centers, dubbed CAFE (the Center for AI Foundations and Engineering Systems), Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, also the A. Robert Noll Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering in the School of School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, sees future possibilities, noting that the hub “has the potential for transformative impact on a wide variety of engineered systems including energy efficient buildings; smart prosthetic and assistive devices; new meta-materials; robust manufacturing pipelines; and next-generation autonomous underwater vehicles.”

While CAFE’s focus is on AI relative to engineered systems, the other research centers and initiatives cover additional disciplines. The Center for Artificial Intelligence Foundations and Scientific Applications (CENSAI) plans to focus on using AI and related applications across multiple disciplines. The Center for Socially Responsible Artificial Intelligence (CSRAI) will feature collaboration by faculty across the university to promote research, outreach and education in the use of AI in socially responsible ways geared toward benefiting society as a whole. The Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Industry (AIMI) opens the door to industry partnerships for AI research.

AIMI’s mission is to build long-term relationships and partnerships across industry and academic to expand innovation across the nation. Created as a gateway and an entry point to effectively connect organizations with Penn State’s AI expertise, AIMI held a forum in March for industries. With more than 50 people from 22 companies, ranging from Morgan Stanley to Google, the event featured university experts from five campuses and six academic colleges.

Leading the World in Innovation

The new AI Hub is just the latest step in Penn State’s quest to lead the charge in innovation. The university has a longstanding history of collaborating across disciplines, reaching out to industry partners and demonstrating its prowess in both the development of new technology and scientific research. With the establishment of its new AI Hub, the climate has created a perfect storm through which future advances of both AI and ML will surely emerge.

For Penn State students, faculty and researchers, the hub also represents an ever-expanding opportunity. After all, AI is clearly here to stay and transforming the future of work, fostering new and impactful innovations and creating exciting job growth across industries. And, organizations will now have a new resource to turn to for AI expertise. The AI Hub will be an entry point through which industry can connect with experts in the field, while offering access to research, facilities and new avenues for networking through its AIMI Research Center.

Interested in joining AIMI as a partner? Contact Todd Price, ICDS corporate relations director for research, at tup77@psu.edu for more information.