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UMD Launches Institute Focused on Ethical AI Development

Institute Will Support Interdisciplinary Research and Education That Promote Responsible Use of AI and Prepare Future Workforce for AI-Infused World

By Maryland Today Staff

The University of Maryland on Tuesday announced the launch of a new institute dedicated to developing the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) education, technology and leaders.

The Artificial Intelligence Interdisciplinary Institute at Maryland (AIM) will be a collaborative hub for AI, supporting faculty research, offering innovative and experiential learning opportunities, and focusing on responsible and ethical AI technology to advance the public good across industry, government and society.

“Establishing the AI Interdisciplinary Institute at Maryland is a pioneering step in AI research and education,” said University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines. “Artificial intelligence continues to grow exponentially, creating opportunities to solve the grand challenges of our time. With this institute, our experts will work together to globally lead responsible AI development that spurs economic growth and promotes human well-being. We’re not just adapting to the AI age but shaping its future.”

The University of Maryland and the state of Maryland have long maintained a steadfast commitment to responsible advancement of AI technology. The new institute builds upon the university’s existing AI expertise, research and centers, including the Center for Machine Learning, the National Science Foundation-funded Institute for Trustworthy AI in Law & Society (TRAILS), the Value-Centered AI Initiative and the Social Data Science Center. Centers like these will be an instrumental part of AIM, as will faculty members across campus who teach and study AI.

“From the start, interdisciplinary collaboration across fields will drive our AI institute’s success,” said UMD Senior Vice President and Provost Jennifer King Rice. “We’re fortunate to have AI leaders in fields ranging from computer science and engineering to journalism, education, social sciences, business and the arts—a unique breadth of expertise that Maryland brings to the table. By uniting our efforts under one institute, we will not only become a magnet for ethical AI development and research but a global leader in preparing students and the workforce for an AI-infused world.”

Through AIM, UMD students across all majors will learn the principles of AI and how they apply to their fields of study, preparing them for a technology-rich workforce. The institute will coordinate:

  • New AI majors and minors
  • AI certificates, graduate degrees and workforce development programs
  • Expanded AI undergraduate courses, including an AI4ALL course focused on developing AI literacy and critical thinking skills
  • AI government and industry partnerships and community events
  • A new high-performance computing cluster tailored for AI’s complex computational challenges
  • Financial support to promote interdisciplinary AI research
  • Chaired professorships and postdoctoral fellowships

In addition to the existing, 100-plus faculty members who study and teach AI, the university expects to hire additional faculty in foundational and interdisciplinary AI, and staff to work within the institute. Hal Daumé III, a Volpi-Cupal Family Endowed Professor in the Department of Computer Science, will serve as AIM’s inaugural director. The university has also appointed Neda Atanasoski as associate director of education and Sheena Erete as associate director of research.

“AI-infused systems have the potential to enhance human capacity and creativity, mitigate complex society challenges and foster innovation. Achieving this requires a joint effort between those pushing the boundaries of new AI technologies, those who innovate AI applications, and those who study human values and how people and society interact with AI,” said Daumé. “The University of Maryland is drawing together faculty experts, researchers and students from across campus to lead the responsible development and implementation of this world-changing technology.”

The vision for AIM came about through the efforts of a multidisciplinary work group, and was refined through a collaborative process with the deans of all 12 colleges and schools. It aligns with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s recent executive order to catalyze responsible and productive use of artificial intelligence by state agencies, and President Joe Biden’s executive order on safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence. It also supports the work of Pines’ AI commission, which examines how AI can be harnessed operationally in teaching, learning, student recruitment, enrollment and more.

The institute will be funded through the university, research grants, philanthropic gifts and industry partnerships.



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