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NSF Director visits University at Buffalo alongside U.S. Senate Majority Leader

On April 2, U.S. National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan traveled to the University at Buffalo (UB), where he joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of a new National Artificial Intelligence Research Institute.

Launched by NSF and the U.S. Department of Education, the NSF and Institute of Education Sciences AI Institute for Transforming Education for Children with Speech and Language Processing Challenges (National AI Institute for Exceptional Education) is a large-scale, multi-partner initiative led by UB researchers in collaboration with researchers from eight other colleges and universities. The team aims to transform education for children with speech and language processing challenges using advanced AI.

"I'm excited to come to the University at Buffalo with Leader Schumer to officially launch the National AI Institute for Exceptional Education and appreciate his leadership in this critical area," said Panchanathan. "By advancing AI techniques, human-AI interactions and learning science, this Institute will develop entirely new ways to identify and assist millions of children — and their teachers — across the United States in need of speech and language services. This effort will empower generations of young people with a high-quality education, opening a lifetime of bigger and better opportunities than ever available to them before." 

Prior to touring the new AI Institute, Panchanathan joined Schumer and AI experts from the university in conversations highlighting the enormous potential of emerging technologies to be used for the public good — from personalized health care to enhanced national security to improved teaching and learning techniques.

The director rounded out his trip with an NSF grant principal investigator faculty roundtable, where he met NSF-funded researchers and students sharing scientific interests and the societal significance of their work. He also joined UB's "AI Chat Series," where he shared NSF's vision for the future and AI's role in it.

"Through this new AI Institute, NSF is reinforcing its commitment to our nation's global leadership in AI and in R&D, here in Buffalo and across the country,” said Panchanathan. “Together, the NSF-led AI Institutes are harnessing the power of AI to strengthen our nation's education system, grow a skilled and diverse workforce, boost the economy and bolster national security."