Yesterday, 12 leading technical experts met to launch the work of the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Resource Task Force. With equal representation from government, academia, and private sector organizations, the Task Force is tasked with building an implementation plan to realize a National AI Research Resource that would make AI research and development (R&D) equitable and accessible to all Americans.
The meeting opened with remarks from the Task Force Co-Chairs, Dr. Lynne Parker, Director of the National AI Initiative at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Dr. Erwin Gianchandani, Senior Advisor for Translation, Innovation, and Partnerships at the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Parker thanked the Task Force members for their service and willingness to lend their expertise to the effort to expand access to the resources that fuel AI research. She outlined the Congressional mandate for the Task Force and framed the vision of a National AI Research Resource that would provide AI researchers and students across scientific fields with access to advanced computing frameworks, high-quality datasets, and educational tools and user-support mechanisms.
Dr. Gianchandani then moderated a discussion among the Task Force members that delved into the key characteristics that could be envisioned for a National AI Research Resource as well as the technical and policy considerations that the Task Force will explore.
To provide a foundation for the Task Force’s future deliberations, he shared initial lessons learned from a range of federal pilot efforts to enhance access to commercial cloud offerings for federally funded AI R&D. Next, representatives from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation, and Sustainability (STRIDES) initiative joined the meeting to share the model they have developed to connect NIH-funded researchers with commercial cloud resources. The Task Force members expressed their interest in learning how these experiments demonstrated the ways in which public-private partnerships can serve to inform and advance a National AI Research Resource.
The Task Force members discussed the timeline for their work and components of the implementation plan mandated by Congress. They considered proposed working groups to concentrate on key capabilities and considerations, and how to bring in substantial external engagement to inform their work through a wide range of perspectives and expertise. The Task Force members emphasized the importance of gathering input from the public through a Request for Information that is open for comment through September 1, 2021.
The Task Force members underscored the transformative impact a National AI Research Resource would have on the nation’s research, innovation, and education ecosystem, including the ability to advance equity and inclusion in science and technology.
The Task Force will meet again in August. More detail on the Task Force and upcoming meetings is available on a dedicated page on AI.gov.