US institute formed to advance AI development in climate studies

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The NSF (National Science Foundation) recently announced an investment of more than US$100m (€82.6m) to establish five AI institutes to support research and education hubs nationwide.

“Recognizing the critical role of AI, NSF is investing in collaborative research and education hubs, such as the NSF AI Institute for Research on Trustworthy AI in Weather, Climate and Coastal Oceanography, anchored at The University of Oklahoma, which will bring together academia, industry and government to unearth profound discoveries and develop new capabilities to advance American competitiveness for decades to come,” said NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan.

In addition to Oklahoma University, the institute will bring together collaborators from Colorado State University, University at Albany, University of Washington, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Del Mar College (Corpus Christi), NCAR, Google, IBM, Nvidia, Disaster Tech and NOAA.

Each of these institutions will focus on areas where they can bring their specific expertise to bear. For example, NCAR will focus on conducting AI and risk communication research to better understand Earth’s system and advance forecasts in ways that are most useful for helping society manage hazardous weather risks. The center notes it is already using AI techniques to develop new insights into hailstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as to improve prediction systems for renewable energy.

“Establishment of this new NSF AI Institute at OU is a historic milestone in environmental science,” said retired US Navy rear admiral Tim Gallaudet, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator. “NOAA has made extraordinary progress in the application of AI to climate, weather and coastal oceanography. Our partnership with this Institute will accelerate that progress to dramatically improve our performance and efficiency in every one of our mission areas, including severe weather prediction, fisheries management, ocean mapping and exploration, and natural resource conservation.”

The Institute says it will also launch a first-of-its-kind pilot AI certificate for community colleges that will teach AI to a new audience, and broaden participation by creating a pipeline for underrepresented students in different parts of the country, starting with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and its partner community college, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi.

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