Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., recently announced $1.8 million of funding for Virginia universities to research and develop AI capabilities to mitigate cyberattacks.

The Federal funding – provided jointly by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security, and IBM – will allow the University of Virginia and Norfolk State University to study innovative AI-based approaches to cybersecurity.

“Addressing the cybersecurity threats that our nation faces requires constant adaptation and innovation, and utilizing AI to counter these threats is an incredibly exciting use-case for this emerging technology,” Sen. Warner said in a statement.

“This funding will allow teams at the University of Virginia and Norfolk State to do groundbreaking research on ways AI can help safeguard against cyberattacks,” he continued, “I congratulate UVA and NSU on receiving this funding, and I can’t wait to see what they discover and develop.”

According to the press release, researchers from these two institutions will collaborate with teams at 10 additional educational institutions and 20 private industry partners to develop revolutionary methods to counter cyberattacks – in which AI-enabled intelligent security agents will cooperate with humans to build more resilient networks.

Norfolk State University will receive $975,000 of the funding and the University of Virginia will receive $845,000. Investments are designed to build a diverse AI workforce across the nation, Sen. Warner said.

As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Warner has long been a vocal advocate in Congress for improving cybersecurity in K-12 schools as well as closing the digital divide. He also co-authored legislation that requires companies responsible for U.S. critical infrastructure to report cybersecurity incidents to the government.

The senator has also advocated for cybersecurity and security-oriented design by AI companies.

In April, he sent a series of letters to CEOs of several AI companies urging them to prioritize security, combat bias, and responsibly roll out new technologies. In November 2022, he published “Cybersecurity is Patient Safety,” a policy options paper that outlined current cybersecurity threats facing health care providers and offering a series of policy solutions to improve cybersecurity.

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