Artificial Intelligence

Cornell Launches Applied AI Initiative

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Cornell University and r4 Technologies, a company that produces an artificial intelligence platform, are collaborating on a cross-disciplinary endeavor that will eventually introduce required undergraduate courses in data science and AI. The partnership will also launch a program in which master's students will work in teams to tackle real-world projects for r4 and other companies. R4 was created by the founders of travel planning site priceline.com.

The "Cornell-r4 Applied AI Initiative" will bring together participants from the university's colleges of Engineering, Arts & Sciences and Computing and Information Science, along with r4 experts, to work on "large-scale industry and societal challenges." The effort will introduce AI and data science to a broader range of Cornell students.

Research will be led by Cornell faculty and graduate student teams, who will work with r4 and other companies. In keeping with the institution's focus on agriculture, an initial research area will be to tackle problems in the food industry supply chain. This "farm to table" project will examine consumer retail, supply chain management and forecasting to better align with local demand patterns — in an attempt to improve profitability for producers and retailers while reducing food waste.

The AI Initiative will be co-chaired by Greg Morrisett, dean of CIS at Cornell, and Paul Breitenbach, founder and CEO of r4 and a graduate of Cornell. An advisory board drawn from Cornell's leadership, the r4 Leadership Council and other industry sponsors will oversee the program and select individual research focus areas.

"Cornell University believes in the vast potential of applied AI to achieve breakthrough solutions in business and society," said Morrisett, in a statement. The partnership, he noted, "puts us at the leading edge of academic discovery across crucial disciplines such as statistics, machine learning and optimization."

"Together, we will deliver real-world results for business," added Breitenbach. "And all future Cornellians will lead the new world they enter as AI natives, which will make them unique."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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