A group of prominent U.S.-based universities announced their support for the bicameral, bipartisan National AI Research Resource Task Force Act.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, and Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., would establish a task force to develop a roadmap for a national AI research cloud.

“We cannot take America’s AI leadership for granted. With China focused on toppling the United States’ leadership in AI, we need to redouble our efforts with a sustained commitment to the best and brightest by developing a national research cloud to ensure our technical researchers get the tools they need to succeed,” Sen. Portman, co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, said when the bill was initially introduced earlier in June. “This legislation takes the first steps towards a national research cloud. By democratizing access to computing power, we ensure that any American with computer science talent can pursue their good ideas.”

On June 30, Stanford University; The Ohio State University; Princeton University; University of California, Los Angeles; Carnegie Mellon University; Duke University; Pennsylvania State University; University of Pennsylvania; and Johns Hopkins University endorsed the bill.

Academia’s support for the bill is critical because if enacted, the bill would “convene a group of technical experts across academia, government, and industry to develop a detailed plan for how the U.S. can build, deploy, govern, and sustain a national research cloud.”

“The National AI Research Resource Task Force Act of 2020 is vital to American innovation,” said John Etchemendy, Denning co-director, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and Provost Emeritus at Stanford University. “A National Research Cloud will give academic researchers the tools needed to advance artificial intelligence far into the future. It will also elevate the ability of all colleges and universities to provide the research and teaching needed to maintain our competitiveness in AI.”

Morley O. Stone, senior vice president for research at The Ohio State University, also praised the bill.

“The Ohio State University supports the National AI Research Resources Task Force Act,” said Stone. “This bill will explore the creation of a shared cloud computing infrastructure for researchers across the country. By bringing together academia, government, and the private sector, we can dramatically increase the speed in which the U.S. can innovate in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

The bill cosponsors pushed Congress to act quickly on the legislation.

“The widespread support for the National AI Research Resource Task Force Act from our country’s preeminent research universities … demonstrates how critical the legislation is for our country to retain our global lead in AI research,” said the cosponsors. “We thank the universities … supporting our bill, and we call on Congress to act on this legislation as soon as possible.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs