By Vince Gasparini | August 28, 2023
The University at Albany has hired 40 new faculty for the Fall 2023 semester, 18 of whom are specialists in artificial intelligence (AI). This is part of the university’s AI Plus Initiative, which is being supported by a $75 million investment from New York State. The recent hires have been made possible by a $53 million SUNY-wide faculty hiring initiative, with $5.2 million being allocated to UAlbany.
SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
Photo Credit: Vince Gasparini
“Artificial intelligence touches nearly every facet of our daily lives,” UAlbany’s Vice President for Government and Community Relations Sheila Seery said in a statement about AI Plus. “AI Plus is UAlbany’s holistic approach to integrating teaching and learning about AI across its academic and research programs to ensure every graduate is prepared to live and work in a world radically changed by technology in the coming decades.”
UAlbany’s newly launched College of Nanotechnology, Science, and Engineering (CNSE) will serve as the university’s primary hub for artificial intelligence research. CNSE formed as a merger between UAlbany’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the former College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering after the SUNY Board of Trustees voted to reintegrate CNSE with UAlbany back in December of 2022.
The university is still searching for nine more hires as a part of this initiative. The new faculty will be dispersed among 25 different departments across eight schools and colleges. These faculty will be interconnected across the university through the AI Plus Institute, or UAlbany Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
“The AI Plus Institute will be an incubator for student and faculty start-up companies, as well as an internship and externship pipeline to local industry,” Seery said.
The university is developing a “three-tiered approach” towards teaching students about AI. This includes courses focused on general principles of AI, continuing into courses with a focus on the impact of AI in different areas of study, and finally discipline-specific courses which will prepare students for practical use of AI in their chosen fields.
“From art history to engineering and from political science to philosophy, UAlbany is ensuring every student in every major has access to coursework that provides both a foundational and discipline-specific understanding of artificial intelligence,” Seery said.
UAlbany is also working to develop an AI hardware center in order to give students and faculty access to “state-of-the-art high-speed computational power” with the ability to research next generation AI, exploratory hardware, and new chip designs.
The university looks to use the AI Plus Initiative to help efforts in utilizing AI towards issues such as public health, climate change, and national security, while assuring that UAlbany students are at the forefront of this new era of technology.