University Park, Pa. — In a world of increasingly complex supply chains, rapidly changing workforce trends, an ever-increasing need for productivity and a need to address societal challenges, organizations are looking to artificial intelligence (AI) and learning machine learning (ML) (collectively AI/ML) as an ally to navigate the competitive landscape and deliver the goods and services needed by customers.
Penn State’s Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS) has announced the creation of the Center for Applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Industry, or AIMI (pronounced Aim-ee), which will connect experienced AI/ML researchers at Penn Work with industry partners to identify and conduct industry-sponsored exploratory research projects. The funding model uses industry memberships similar to how the National Science Foundation created Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRCs), of which Penn State has six. The IUCRC experience has allowed Penn State to refine how AIMI can position research to easily address industry challenges while advancing new research directions in AI and ML.
“The AIMI Center offers a new and dynamic opportunity for industries to partner with Penn State. The membership model allows partners to directly communicate their key research needs in AI and ML while staying abreast of hot trends globally ” said Lora Weiss, Penn State’s senior vice president for research. “Our industry partners want to participate in the advances we’re making in AI and ML, and by bringing their interests together, we’re driving key partnerships to address critical problems.”
Soundar Kumara, Allen E. Pearce and Allen M. Pearce Professor of Industrial Engineering at Penn State, who is a pioneer in the application of AI/ML in smart manufacturing and health care, became the inaugural director of the research center.
The membership model will provide industry partners with access to cutting-edge AI-related projects and allow them to collaborate directly with Penn State researchers on those projects. Kumara said the innovative model will make AIMI a leading center for AI and ML research for business and industry.
“My vision is to make AIMI the global hub for AI and ML industry research,” Kumara said. “By joining forces with AIMI at Penn State, industry members benefit in many ways and become a community focused on advancing AI/ML research.”
Kumara said AI-driven technologies are dramatically transforming healthcare, finance, business, manufacturing and almost every industry sector. Technology is helping companies create new tools for machine tracking, weather forecasting, e-commerce, education, defense and more. Kumara’s own research has used artificial intelligence to optimize complex supply chains, provide warnings of illicit sales of pharmaceuticals online, and monitor manufacturing equipment, among other topics.
Kumara emphasized the careful need for organizations to use evidence-based research when incorporating AI and ML tools.
“AI and ML applications to broader industry problems need careful thought to assess what is important and what is irrelevant. It is not simply about throwing data into the algorithm and collecting the answers; we need to focus on interpretability and explainability” , Kumara added. “While highly accurate algorithms are great, scalable, interpretable and explainable algorithms take the front seat. AI and ML algorithms should also be fair and unbiased. This will be the focus of AIMI.”
AIMI will serve as a critical hub to connect business and industry with Penn State’s world-class expertise in AI and ML. Penn State has more than 400 researchers using artificial intelligence, or ML, methods in their innovative research, publishing on topics such as detecting discrimination, monitoring maternal and child health, predicting severe weather, diagnosing crop diseases, studying river water quality, guide online privacy decisions. , improving suicide prevention interventions, aiding in cancer diagnosis and treatment, tracking hurricanes, designing better chemical catalysts, and accelerating vaccine manufacturing, among other cutting-edge projects.
“We think of AIMI as the perfect catalyst to combine the power of artificial intelligence with the ingenuity of our researchers and our partners in business and industry to create needed solutions and seize new opportunities,” said Todd Price, director of corporate relations for the research in the country. Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences.
“AIMI is uniquely positioned to combine Penn State’s global reputation for building interdisciplinary research teams with the expertise of the center’s industry partners to provide an effective platform for relevant and impactful research on AI and ML,” said Jenni Evans, professor of meteorology and ML. director of atmospheric sciences and ICDS.
“This center will serve as a nexus for everything Penn State is known for: innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and expertise in using artificial intelligence to solve real-world problems,” Evans added.
In addition to talented faculty and other researchers, AIMI will leverage Penn State’s organization and administrative processes, and the expertise of ICDS, as well as its Roar supercomputer and data and computational infrastructure to execute AIMI’s mission, according to Gretta Kellogg, deputy director of LOVE
“Through AIMI, we’ve created a membership model that encourages industry to partner with Penn State faculty across disciplines and AI/ML programming experts on the Research Innovations with Scientists and Engineers (RISE) team,” said Kellogg. “It provides an easy entry for companies who want to explore working with the latest technologies to learn about and develop new solutions with faculty, while engaging with students for internship opportunities or to recruit students with relevant experience working in areas of interest to the their own projects.”
Kellogg added that the initiative takes a big-box approach to bridging the dynamism of AI research at the University with entrepreneurship around the world.
“AIMI is also looking for ways to include faculty and students on all campuses because there are potential industry partnerships available across the state,” Kellogg said. “We want to help encourage small and medium-sized businesses to discover what a partnership with our AI researchers can enable them to achieve, while at the same time, we can help campuses build workforce development pipelines that are better suited to industry partners, their own regions”.
To find out more, or to find out how to collaborate, visit the AIMI website.