Startups are likely to gain access to the national AI research cloud

A federally funded AI research cloud is advancing, and startups should join the party.

A task force set up to design The National AI Research Resource, or NAIRR, a repository of data, tools and computing power needed to build machine learning and other AI systems, has published a preliminary report today outlining plans and expectations for the service.

Following months of public meetings, the task force, overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, said the resource should be managed by an independent, non-government entity.

And, despite expectations by some that NAIRR would only be available for academic research, task force leaders reaffirmed interest in opening it up to startups.

NAIRR is primarily intended for academia, said Lynne Parker, director of the National AI Initiative Office within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and co-chair of the task force. However, at a press conference today he said, “Certainly the task force is open to enabling startups that, for example, have received federal grants.” He specifically mentioned the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grant programs.

Exactly who will be able to access the NAIRR is in question throughout the resource development phase. Some NAIRR supporters, including the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), have pushed against the idea of ​​opening it up to private corporations, saying it should focus on the needs of academics and nonprofits. researchers.

In their report, the task force also supported the creation of “an independent, non-government entity with dedicated, specialized staff” to manage NAIRR’s infrastructure, resource allocation, support and security. They called for federal agencies to make new or existing infrastructure resources – including some from private sector providers – available to NAIRR for AI research and development, including data, computing and testbeds.

Several corporations including the big three cloud providers – Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Google Cloud, and Microsoft’s Azure – have all submitted proposals for the project.

“Importantly, NAIRR computational resources should cover the full range of possible offerings, including commercial cloud, high-performance and high-throughput computing, on-premise (at academic and/or government sites) resources,” edge ‘computing resources and devices, and novel computing approaches and platforms, ”the task force report said.

Task force co-chair Manish Parashar, office director for the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure at the National Science Foundation, pointed out existing NSF facilities that could serve as models for managing NAIRR’s shared infrastructure. “We can look at them over the next few months to see how we can learn from them, and see how effective they are for a resource like what’s seen as NAIRR,” he said.

NAIRR planners emphasized the need for the resource to be accessed by a diverse and inclusive group of people, and to incorporate responsible and trustworthy AI principles into data sources and developed by AI using ito. “The task force recommends that NAIRR establish an ethical review process to review all resources included in the system, and the research conducted with it. NAIRR users are required to complete regularly updated ethics training modules before being granted access to the network, ”Parashar said.

The task force is seeking public comment on the report and will hold a public listening session to be held on June 23.


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