The White House today announced the creation of 12 new research institutions focused on artificial intelligence and quantum information science. Many federal agencies, including the NSF (National Science Foundation), the DHS (U.S. Department of Homeland Security), and the DOE (U.S. Department of Energy) have committed to funding tens of millions of dollars into these new institutes.
One of the main reasons for the creation of these institutes (and the investment into this sector) is the lack of talent in artificial intelligence in the United States. Though there is quite a lot of admission into Computer Science and Information Technology fields in colleges, many American institutes are not able to keep up with the growing demand.
According to VentureBeat, another reason for the demand for AI talent could be attributed to recent legislation. In June, the Trump Administration banned entry into the U.S. for many visa holders, including H-1B visa holders. These visa holders are termed to be “high-skilled” with an estimated 35% of them having an AI-related educational background.
The Trump Administration has also suggested suspending the Optional Practical Training program, which many international students (including those with an AI-related education) use to work up to 3 years in the U.S. after graduation.
However, it is clear that artificial intelligence is a very hot area of interest these days. It was revealed by Michael Kratsios last September that federal agencies requested almost $1 billion in non-defense AI research spending. Top representatives from companies like Intel and Nvidia have said that the U.S. needs to set aside more money for R&D in AI. Center for a New American Security, a national security think tank, has called for federal investment in the field to increase to $25 billion by 2025.
The Trump Administration has said that the NSF will partner with he U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Homeland’s Security Science and Technology Directorate, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration to invest $100 million over the next five years in five AI institutes. That will be $20 million per institute. The USDA will also support two of its own institutes, with a total of $40 million in grants.
The Department of Energy will also award $625 million to start five separate quantum information science research centers. The Trump Administration says that $300 million of that funding will come from industry and academic institutions. The remaining will be taken from the $1.2 billion set aside from 2018’s National Quantum Initiative Act.
Quantum-related technology and artificial intelligence are expected to become some of the top sought-after fields in this decade.
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