The National Science Foundation has announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research center at Duke.
The AI Institute for Edge Computing Leveraging Next-generation Networks—Athena for short—will be supported through a $20 million grant and five-year development plan from NSF and the Department of Homeland Security. The initiative is positioned to reshape the design, service, and operation of mobile systems.
Yiran Chen, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, will serve as the director of Athena and principal investigator for the grant.
“Athena is a big milestone of Duke AI initiatives through transforming the research landscape in AI-driven computing technology,” Chen said. “It will greatly benefit other relevant efforts such as AI health, education [and] data science by developing foundational AI technologies to advance their theoretical basis and use-inspired computing and network platforms to support the applications.”
The NSF investment towards the center makes it one of 11 new research institutes focused on artificial intelligence, for a total of $220 million in grants. Athena will support a group of scientists, engineers, statisticians, legal scholars and psychologists from seven universities, including Duke, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale, Princeton, University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of Michigan and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Chen noted that Athena is committed to development in education and will “cultivate a diverse next generation of mobile network leaders with the core values of ethics and fairness for AI.”
Shaundra Daily, professor of the practice in the department of electrical and computer engineering, will serve as the Athena education and workforce director. She said that the team will introduce hands-on opportunities through summer camps, industry tours and ethics training.
“We also will have a very intentional focus on broadening participation of groups who are historically not represented in the field of AI,” Daily said. “I think our team is well positioned to not only push the novel research proposed forward, but also to make sure that we have a broad spectrum of identities bringing their thoughts, ideas and abilities to the table to solve important challenges.”