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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
UF Artificial Intelligence

UF plans to house a new supercomputer and implement AI across campus with the new funds.


A computer with enough electricity to power 100 to 200 homes will find its own in the UF data center.

The UF Board of Trustees, a 13-member panel that oversees the university's operations, approved a donation of $20 million from the university to the technology company Nvidia Tuesday evening. The funds will go toward introducing and implementing the company’s artificial intelligence technology across campus.

The university plans to weave AI into curriculum across colleges and offer new degree and certificate programs in AI and data science, according to an announcement by UF on Tuesday.

This Fall, UF will offer a bachelor’s degree in Data Science and an AI certificate, which will be available to any UF student. It will also offer options for on-campus students to take courses in AI, six-to-eight week boot camps for an accelerated pace and online courses, according to UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.

The programs will make UF among the first in academia to integrate AI across all disciplines and “make it a ubiquitous part of its academic enterprise,” the announcement said.

UF will invest $20 million in the project, and Nvidia co-founder Chris Malachowsky, a UF alumnus, will give an additional $25 million. Nvidia will contribute $25 million to fund the hardware, software, services and training.

“Through their generosity and vision, Chris and UF are providing a mighty foundation for students and faculty to harness this technology and drive discovery,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, according to a press release.

While students will not be physically able to access the supercomputer that holds the capacity for the AI, they will be able to connect to the technology through their laptops on campus, wireless connections and from home, said Erik Deumens, the UF Research Computing director.

Artificial intelligence allows users to collect and interpret large amounts of data and uses an algorithm to detect patterns and irregularities in the data, he added.

Trevor Pope, Student Body president and member of the Board, said he hopes the partnership will attract prospective students to the university and give current students the ability to gain hands-on STEM experience.

“I personally am really proud of our institution and the university for giving them this opportunity to work in this kind of field and experiment and test with AI,” he said. “I think it's great.”

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Deumens has been helping develop this partnership since November, adding that he let out a sigh of relief when the university finally announced the upcoming programs. He said he hopes the technology reaches beyond just students who are interested in AI.

For example, history majors can use the technology to analyze the use of grammar over time periods, he said.

UF committed to hiring 100 more AI-focused faculty members, and 500 new faculty members have committed to integrating AI into their classrooms and research, according to the announcement.

UF will encourage graduate fellows to work with Nvidia employees at the latest Nvidia AI Technology Center.

“More than ever before in my lifetime, people around the country and the globe are looking to universities to expand access to higher education and technology and to level the field of opportunity for all,” said UF President Kent Fuchs.

He said UF is looking to meet the challenge of expanding technology on campus and that the partnership will help them achieve that.

“It is not clear what AI will bring in the future, but it will be effective,” Deumens said. “That is why everyone needs to take an interest in this, not just leave it to a few techies.”

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