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AI Research Advocates Seek to Democratize US Supercomputing Infrastructure

During a House Science Committee hearing held the week of Feb. 4, 2024, advocates for scaling up efforts to democratize access to AI research infrastructure aired their case.

The hearing focused on how federal science agencies can help researchers from less-resourced institutions tap into supercomputers needed for cutting-edge AI research.

According to the American Institute of Physics (AIP), The National Science Foundation launched a pilot program  last month through which U.S.-based researchers can apply for time on such supercomputers, an effort known as the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR). It will also offer datasets, models, software training and user support.

Tess deBlanc-Knowles, special assistant to the director for AI at NSF, explained at the hearing that the pilot is being funded with existing agency resources and bolstered by in-kind contributions from a network of industry partners. Initially, the pilot will prioritize work to advance “safe, secure, and trustworthy AI,” as well as the application of AI to scientific challenges in health, the environment, and infrastructure sustainability, deBlanc-Knowles said.

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