University of Alabama center focuses on artificial intelligence
University of Alabama center focuses on artificial intelligence

The University of Alabama has opened a new center dedicated to research into artificial intelligence.

The Alabama Center for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, located in the UA’s College of Engineering, will consolidate new and existing work on campus and expand its outreach activities related to the development and application of artificial intelligence, according to a press release.

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“The opening of the ALA AI Center marks a turning point in AI research and education here at the University of Alabama and for our state,” said Clifford Henderson, dean of the School of Engineering.

The ALA-AI Center will “…demonstrate UA’s relentless commitment to excellence, innovation, world-class education and a leading position in research and development of cutting-edge technologies,” Henderson said.

The center was recently approved by the UA System Board of Trustees and is supported in part by a $2 million gift in honor of Marvin A. Griffin, former head of the UA’s computer science department.

According to the press release, the center will focus on five concepts:

  • Further development of AI science and its machine learning techniques
  • Promoting human-centered AI applications for the benefit of society
  • Ensuring ethical development, dissemination and use of AI technologies
  • Promoting an AI-skilled workforce and society through lifelong learning initiatives

  • Promoting a vibrant AI research and education community and strengthening collaboration between academia and industry

Jiaqi Gong, associate professor of computer science at UA, was appointed the center’s first director.

“The creation of ALA-AI represents a tremendous leap forward in AI research and education at UA,” Gong said. “Through interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative initiatives, we aim to address the most pressing challenges and opportunities in AI and shape a better future for Alabama and beyond through its responsible development and application.”

Co-directors alongside Gong are Sergei Gleyzer, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the UA, and Hee Yun Lee, distinguished professor and endowed chair in the UA School of Social Work.

By Aurora