The NAIRR Task Force focused on computational and data resources, access to testbeds, the user experience including educational offerings, and governance and administration

The National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force convened its third virtual, public meeting on October 25 to further develop a vision and implementation plan for the NAIRR—a national cyberinfrastructure that would democratize access to resources and tools that fuel AI research and development (R&D), making AI R&D equitable and accessible to more American researchers, sparking innovation and economic development, and helping build an AI workforce for the future. Through a series of meetings, the Task Force is working toward consensus recommendations on a NAIRR implementation plan and roadmap that will be provided to Congress in 2022.

Co-Chairs Dr. Lynne Parker, Director of the National AI Initiative at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Dr. Erwin Gianchandani, Senior Advisor for Translation, Innovation, and Partnerships at the National Science Foundation (NSF), opened the meeting by announcing the posting on AI.gov of responses received to the RFI on an Implementation Plan for a National AI Research Resource. More than 80 unique responses were received by the October 1 deadline from a wide range of academic, private sector, non-profit, and governmental stakeholders. This valuable input will help inform the Task Force’s work as it develops a NAIRR implementation plan.

The first session of the meeting engaged Task Force members in discussions of draft recommendations for the computational resources that should be available through the NAIRR, as well as the appropriate governance and administration of the NAIIR.  These discussions built upon ideas provided by a range of external experts and practitioners during the first and second Task Force meetings on July 29 and August 30, respectively. The Task Force agreed that the NAIRR should federate computational resources, embodying a mix of cloud and on-premise resources, experimental and production environments, and core and edge computing. The Task Force also agreed on scaling the resources in two ways: the NAIRR should address the need both for high-end computational capabilities for large-scale AI problems, as well as widely-distributed resources to provide computational capacity for many users simultaneously.   

The Task Force then heard from several external experts on the types of resources that would be available through the NAIRR, including data resources and access to AI-related testbeds.  Additional discussions focused on resources and tools that would be available for users of the NAIRR, including educational offerings. The first distinguished panel of outside experts shared lessons learned from their successes and failures in managing data commons, establishing governance and technical controls in these data commons for privacy protection, and navigating the use of government data.

A second multinational expert panel highlighted best practices to ensure resources available through the NAIRR are accessible and navigable by a broad user base through intuitive portals and educational tools. A particular emphasis was on data, computational, or testbed resources that would fill demonstrated gaps in existing Federal support and embody the principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability.

The meeting closed with the Task Force answering a number of questions posed by the public. Topics spanned considerations for the technical architecture of the NAIRR, its integration with existing Federal research infrastructure investments, data governance and algorithmic accountability, and the responsible development and use of trustworthy AI.

In closing the meeting, Dr. Gianchandani noted his recent transition within NSF to a new role within the Office of the Director, and announced the transfer of his NAIRR Task Force co-chair role to Dr. Manish Parashar, the Office Director for NSF’s Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure.

The Task Force will have its fourth meeting in December. Details on how to participate in the Task Force meetings are available on AI.gov/nairrtf, along with materials from prior meetings.  

Speakers Invited To Task Force Meetings To Date:

Task Force meeting 3 (October 24):

  • Tiziana Ferrari, EGI Foundation
  • Ian Foster, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Kimberly Greene Starks, IBM University Programs
  • Robert L. Grossman, University of Chicago
  • Ana Hunsinger, Internet2
  • Ron Hutchins, University of Virginia
  • Ed Lazowska, University of Washington
  • Anita Nikolich, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Nancy Potok, Former Chief Statistician of the United States
  • Andrew Trask, OpenMined

Task Force meeting 2 (August 30):

  • Sharon Broude Geva, University of Michigan
  • Damian Clarke, Alabama A&M University
  • James Deaton, Great Plains Network
  • Deborah Dent, Jackson State University
  • Manish Parashar, National Science Foundation
  • Tripti Sinha, University of Maryland and Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX)
  • Gina Tourassi, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • John Towns, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Talitha Washington, Atlanta University Center Consortium Data Science Initiative
  • Frank Würthwein, San Diego Supercomputer Center

Task Force meeting 1 (July 28):

  • Andrea Norris, National Institutes of Health

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