The University will be one of several New York-based research institutions that promote responsible AI research focused on serving the public interest

NYU flag on a building

New York University will join other local leading universities to create Empire AI, a state-of-the-art computing center for ethical artificial intelligence (AI) research with a focus on public policy and making New York State the nation’s AI tech leader. 

The $400 million public-private initiative, announced by Governor Kathy Hochul as part of her 2024 budget proposal, will result in a groundbreaking computational facility in Upstate New York that promotes responsible research and development, boosts New York’s economy, and serves all New Yorkers equally.

“Scientific discovery and innovation across various fields is the product of hard work and collaboration, and is increasingly fueled by access to ever greater computing power. NYU is excited to join our fellow academic partners across the city and state to ensure Empire AI helps New York remain one of the world’s leading tech capitals and at the forefront of AI technology,” said NYU President Linda G. Mills. “We also thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her leadership and commitment to this kind of long-term investment, which enables great universities to conduct important research and, in turn, to contribute to New York’s prosperity, create new jobs and new economic sectors, and secure New York State’s tech leadership position well into the future.”

“NYU is proud to join our fellow partners in the Empire AI consortium and help New York realize its vision of becoming a leader in Artificial Intelligence research,” said Interim Provost Georgina Dopico. “Joining this initiative, coupled with the recent news that NYU—for first time—leads all New York City universities in research spending according to the National Science Foundation’s annual survey, illustrates NYU’s commitment to cutting-edge research in the STEM fields, and provides an enormous opportunity for our scientist and scholars to deepen the scope and reach of their research.”

“This exciting initiative will allow our growing network of researchers to collaborate with leading research institutes across the city and state,” said Chief Research Officer & Vice Provost Stacie Bloom, “while exploring many fields of study being undertaken at NYU, including robotics, healthcare, social work, cybersecurity, gaming, computer vision, sustainability, data science, and Responsible AI. We look forward to contributing to the important work that can be accomplished with Empire AI.”

NYU will be part of the consortium that includes seven founding institutions— Columbia, Cornell, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the State University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New York (CUNY), and the Flatiron Institute—that governs the program. The hope is that, by increasing collaboration between New York State’s top research institutions, Empire AI will allow for efficiencies of scale greater than any single university can achieve, attract top notch faculty, and expand educational opportunities.

As Gov. Hochul noted in her State of the State address, many AI resources are concentrated in the hands of large, private tech corporations, who maintain outsized control of AI development. By working in collaboration with industry leader NVIDIA to provide access to the computing systems that are prohibitively expensive and difficult to come by, Empire AI will provide researchers, nonprofits, and small companies with the ability to contribute to the development of AI technology serving the public interest for New York State.

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