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UAlbany Breaks Boundaries with New AI Prototype

By Shaylee Staves | March 4, 2024

Vice President for Research and Economic Development Thenkurussi Kesavadas.

Photo Credit: Patrick Dodson / UAlbany 

The University at Albany has become the first educational institution to install an artificial computing cluster from the technology company IBM. This technology is providing students and faculty alike new opportunities to understand artificial intelligence.

“UAlbany is proud to be the first institution in the world to receive this cutting-edge technology, and we are grateful to IBM for their continued collaboration,” UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez said in a press release on Feb. 6.

The hardware center is based at the recently-reintegrated Albany NanoTech Complex on Fuller Road, along with UAlbany’s Department of Nanoscale Science & Engineering.

UAlbany has recently developed the AI Plus Initiative in order to give students the ability to learn about the capabilities and practical uses of this technology. This program puts an emphasis on allowing students access to coursework relating general foundations of AI to their field-specific studies.

UAlbany is “recruiting 27 of the brightest minds to teach about AI in their disciplines across every UAlbany school and college,” according to the AI Plus Home Page

In the same page description, UAlbany says that it “recognizes that the future and artificial intelligence go hand in hand, and are not regulated to any one field of study.” AI technology can and has been implemented in research for cybersecurity, health services and weather prediction, as well as many other disciplines.

Students are tackling realistic problems using AI. One recent example, published by Michael Parker on Feb. 29, follows UAlbany students as they get some hands-on experience assisting Schenectady in studying how the city’s assets are used. 

It’s important to understand the different terms that are used regarding this field. Artificial intelligence, commonly known as AI, is the development of computer systems that can do tasks that normally only a human would be able to do. Researchers all over the world have been developing this new technology in various ways. A computing cluster is a group of servers that act like a single system and can take on very complicated commands. 

Students at UAlbany are getting the opportunity to learn and gain more experience about this new technology that has shown its merit. AI Plus is UAlbany’s way to “ensure every graduate is prepared to live and work in a world radically changed by technology in the coming decades.”

This will also have a great effect on the surrounding capital area. “Getting people trained for that in the Capital Region is going to give businesses here a leg up to be at the forefront of what is really probably the biggest technological evolution since the internet,” Adam Wills, founder of the AI Web Agency, told News 10 in a recent interview.

Dr. Mukesh Khare, who serves the IBM Vice President of Hybrid Cloud and leadership council member in the SUNY-IBM AI Research Alliance, concurred with Wills’ statements. Dr. Khare said that this research is “critical to the continued development of this tech-skilled workforce.”


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