Microsoft, Princeton, U of Illinois & more launch COVID-19 AI initiative

A new artificial intelligence consortium will offer nearly $6 million in funding and resources for researchers using AI and data analytics to address and slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The founding members of the Digital Transformation Institute, unveiled March 26, are software company, Microsoft, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of California Berkeley, Princeton (N.J.) University, University of Chicago, Cambridge-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University.

The institute is now recruiting researchers who will work alongside the partner organizations to develop AI tools to mitigate the pandemic. Selected projects will receive awards of $100,000 to $500,000, with up to $5.8 million available. The awards will come in the form of cash and in access to the C3 AI suite, the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, UIUC's Blue Waters supercomputer and other AI software tools and technical support.

Research proposals for the institute's coronavirus challenge will be accepted through May 1, with the first grants awarded by June 1.

The creation of the C3 DTI comes shortly after the White House launched a similar project with IBM, Amazon and more, through which it will recruit researchers to use supercomputers across the country to develop high-tech solutions to address the pandemic.

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