1) May 25 -- The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation are seeking comment on the initial findings and recommendations contained in the interim report of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force (“Task Force”) and particularly on potential approaches to implement those recommendations. The Task Force has been directed by Congress to develop an implementation roadmap for a shared research infrastructure that would provide artificial intelligence (AI) researchers and students with access to computational resources, high-quality data, training tools, and user support. Comments in response to this RFI will inform the development of the Task Force's final report, which is expected to be released in December 2022. To be considered, responses and comments must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2022.
Congress directed the National Science Foundation (NSF), in coordination with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), to establish the NAIRR Task Force . . . to investigate the feasibility and advisability of establishing and sustaining a NAIRR, and to propose a roadmap detailing how such a resource should be established and sustained.
The Task Force was launched on June 10, 2021, as a Federal Advisory Committee co-chaired by NSF and OSTP and composed of representatives from the U.S. Government, academia, and the private sector. Its members' expertise spans foundational, use-inspired, and trustworthy AI R&D, as well as research cyberinfrastructure including data and data privacy.
Between its launch date and the time of publication of its interim report, the Task Force convened seven virtual public meetings to discuss and deliberate on key NAIRR uses, potential impacts, system requirements, and design elements. At these meetings, the Task Force consulted 39 expert briefers and panelists to augment the members' own expertise, and to ensure that a diversity of perspectives and experiences were considered in Task Force discussions and deliberations. The Task Force also reviewed 84 public responses to a July 2021 RFI regarding key aspects of the NAIRR.
The Task Force's interim report, published on May 25, 2022, provides a general vision for the NAIRR along with a preliminary set of findings and recommendations regarding the NAIRR architecture, resources, capabilities, and users. Moving forward, the Task Force will refine its findings and recommendations for the design of the NAIRR and deliberate on remaining open questions. In doing so, the Task Force will develop a detailed roadmap and implementation plan for the NAIRR. The Task Force's final report is anticipated to be released in December 2022.
This RFI seeks input from a broad array of stakeholders on the topics set forth below. Comments from the public will be used to inform the Task Force's consideration of options and development of an implementation roadmap as part of the Task Force's final report.
Responders are invited to provide feedback on the findings and recommendations put forward in the Task Force's interim report, and particularly input on how the recommendations could be responsibly and effectively implemented. Responses may address the following areas:
a. Vision for the NAIRR. Including strategic goals and objectives, composition, and user base. (Chapter 2 of report)
b. Establishment and sustainment of the NAIRR. Including agency roles, resource ownership and administration, governance and oversight, resource allocation and sustainment, and performance indicators and metrics. (Chapter 3)
c. NAIRR resource elements and capabilities. Including data, government datasets, compute resources, testbeds, user interface, and educational tools and services. (Chapter 4)
d. System security and user access controls. (Chapter 5)
e. Privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties requirements. (Chapter 6)
f. Ideas for developing a roadmap to establish and build out the NAIRR in a phased approach, and appropriate milestones for implementing the NAIRR. Including data sets, use cases, and capabilities that should be prioritized in the early stages of establishment of the resource.
g. Other areas relevant to the development of the NAIRR implementation plan.
To the extent possible, responders are asked to include alternatives for consideration when not in agreement with the initial findings and/or recommendations articulated by the Task Force. When providing input on possible implementation steps, responses should include, where possible, descriptions of best practices or existing models that the Task Force could consider in the development of an implementation roadmap.
NAIRR Task Force: https://www.ai.gov/nairrtf/
NAIRR Task Force interim report: https://www.ai.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/NAIRR-TF-Interim-Report-2022.pdf
Responders interested in providing additional information to the Task Force are invited to attend a public listening session on June 23, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. See https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-11222
2) OSTP Blog, Bridging the Resource Divide for Artificial Intelligence Research
Lynne Parker, Deputy United States CTO and Director, National AI Initiative Office
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming our world. The field is an engine of innovation that is already driving scientific discovery, economic growth, and new jobs. AI is an integral component of solutions ranging from those that tackle routine daily tasks to societal-level challenges, while also giving rise to new challenges necessitating further study and action. Most Americans already interact with AI-based systems on a daily basis, such as those that help us find the best routes to work and school, select the items we buy, and ask our phones to remind us of upcoming appointments.
Once studied by few, AI courses are now among the most popular across America’s universities. AI-based companies are being founded and scaled at a rapid rate. Worldwide AI-related research publications and patent applications continue to climb.
However, this growth in the importance of AI to our future and the size of the AI community obscures the reality that the pathways to participate in AI research and development (R&D) often remain limited to those with access to certain essential resources. Progress at the current frontiers of AI is often tied to the use of large volumes of advanced computational power and data, and access to those resources today is too often limited to large technology companies and well-resourced universities. Consequently, the breadth of ideas and perspectives incorporated into AI innovations can be limited and lead to the creation of systems that perpetuate biases and other systemic inequalities.
This growing resource divide has the potential to adversely skew our AI research ecosystem, and in the process, threaten our Nation’s ability to cultivate an AI research community and workforce that reflects America’s rich diversity – and harness AI in a manner that serves all Americans. To prevent unintended consequences or disparate impacts from the use of AI, it matters who is doing the AI research and development.
Established in June 2021 pursuant to the National AI Initiative Act of 2020, the National AI Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force has been seeking to address this resource divide. . . .
Today, as co-chair of the Task Force and as part of OSTP’s broader work to advance the responsible research, development, and use of AI, I am proud to announce the submission of the interim report of the NAIRR Task Force to the President and Congress. This report lays out a vision for how this national cyberinfrastructure could be structured, designed, operated, and governed to meet the needs of America’s research community. In the report, the Task Force presents an approach to establishing the NAIRR that builds on existing and future Federal investments; designs in protections for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties; and promotes diversity and equitable access. It details how the NAIRR should support the full spectrum of AI research – from foundational to use-inspired to translational – by providing opportunities for students and researchers to access resources that would otherwise be out of their reach. The vision laid out in this interim report is the first step towards a more equitable future for AI R&D in America – a future where innovation can flourish and the promise of AI can be realized in a way that works for all Americans.
Going forward, the Task Force will develop a roadmap for achieving the vision defined in the interim report. This implementation roadmap is planned for release as the final report of the Task Force at the end of this year. To inform this work, we are asking for feedback from the public on the findings and recommendations presented in the interim report as well as how those recommendations could be effectively implemented. Public responses to this request for information will be accepted through June 30, 2022. . . .
If successful, the NAIRR would transform the U.S. national AI research ecosystem by strengthening and democratizing foundational, use-inspired, and translational AI R&D in the United States. The interim report of the NAIRR Task Force being released today represents a first step towards this future, putting forward a vision for the NAIRR for public comment and feedback.
3) NSF, Bridging the resource divide for artificial intelligence research
Today, the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource, or NAIRR, Task Force presented an interim report to the President and Congress. AI drives scientific discovery, from quantum particles to the supermassive black hole in the depths of the Milky Way. . . . However, pathways to participate in AI research and development are limited. Progress at the frontiers of AI requires advanced computational power and data. Access to these essential resources is often limited to large technology companies and well-resourced universities. Limited access means limited ideas and limited perspectives shaping AI innovations. It means AI innovations can be incomplete and prone to systemic biases and inequities.
Left unaddressed, this growing resource divide could hurt AI research ecosystems and the ability to develop an AI research community and workforce that reflect America's diversity. This resource divide impacts who has access and thus who gets to conduct research and develop AI-driven technologies.
"Including the full breadth of geographic and demographic perspectives in AI R&D will shape the best AI innovations possible," said Manish Parashar, director of the U.S. National Science Foundation's Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure. "Bridging the AI resource gap is our opportunity for better AI innovation that benefits everyone." Parashar is a co-chair of the NAIRR Task Force and leads NSF's broader efforts in supporting advanced research cyberinfrastructure for the nation's science and engineering enterprise. . . .
"AI doesn't just stand for artificial intelligence, it must also stand for accessibility and inclusion. The vision laid out in this interim report is the first step towards a more equitable future for AI R&D in America – a future where innovation can happen anywhere in America and the promise of AI can be realized in a way that works for all Americans," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. . . .