The University of Florida Secures $70 Million Artificial Intelligence Partnership

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

The University of Florida (UF) has made a valuable investment in themselves. 

The feat is thanks to a partnership with Silicon Valley-based technology company NVIDIA. UF and NVIDIA entered into a $70 million deal that UF officials say will make the school a leading educational institution for an artificial intelligence (AI) curriculum. UF announced it signed the deal on Tuesday, July 21 to help boost and incorporate AI across the university’s programs. The deal is a groundbreaking initiative that top UF officials say will allow 100 AI-centric faculty members to help achieve the university’s goal for every student to encounter artificial intelligence in at least one of their classes.

The partnership is made up of a $50 million gift to the University of Florida by former alumnus Chris Malachowsky; Malachowsky gave $25 million to the school and another $25 million in software, hardware and training from NVIDIA, the company he co-founded. The remaining $20 million investment comes from UF itself. The initiative will create an AI-centric data center that houses the world’s fastest AI supercomputer in higher education. Florida, Malachowsky said, is a particularly unique place to launch this initiative, and called the state a “living laboratory” for society’s most-pressing crises.

Through artificial intelligence, a science discipline that prompts machines to mimic human actions, officials hope to study and address 21st century issues such as rising seas, aging populations, urban transportation and food insecurity. “We’ve created a replicable, powerful model of public-private cooperation for everyone’s benefit,” said Malachowsky, who serves as an NVIDIA Fellow, in an online event featuring leaders from both the UF and NVIDIA. UF hopes the partnership will help the university 

Artist’s rendering of University of Florida’s new AI supercomputer based on NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD architecture. Photo and Caption:

While they are working closely with NVIDIA, UF will boost the capabilities of its existing supercomputer, HiPerGator, with the recently announced NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD™ architecture. This will give faculty and students within and beyond UF the tools to apply AI across a multitude of areas to improve lives, bolster industry, and create economic growth across the state. “This incredible gift from Chris and NVIDIA will propel the state of Florida to new heights as it strives to be an economic powerhouse, an unrivaled leader in job creation and an international model of 21st-century know-how,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said.

NVIDIA’s technology powers two-thirds of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers, including eight of the top 10. The third-generation HiPerGator will have access to NVIDIA’s most advanced AI software and integrate 140 NVIDIA DGX™ A100 systems with 1,120 NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs and high-performance NVIDIA Mellanox HDR 200Gb/s InfiniBand networking to deliver 700 petaflops of AI performance. 

NVIDIA will also contribute its AI expertise to UF through ongoing support and collaboration across the following initiatives:

  • The NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute will collaborate with UF on developing new curriculum and coursework for both students and the community, including programming tuned to address the needs of young adults and teens to encourage their interest in STEM and AI, better preparing them for future educational and employment opportunities.
  • UF will become the site of the latest NVIDIA AI Technology Center, where UF Graduate Fellows and NVIDIA employees will work together to advance AI. 
  • NVIDIA solution architects and product engineers will partner with UF on the installation, operation and optimization of the NVIDIA-based supercomputing resources on campus, including the latest AI software applications. 
  • Establishing UF’s Equitable AI program, led by Dr. Juan Gilbert, Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering. The effort is convening faculty members across the university to create standards and certifications in developing tools and solutions that are cognizant of bias, unethical practice and legal and moral issues.

University officials expect Tuesday’s announcement to bring more like-minded people together who have significant resources and abilities related to AI. It will hopefully inspire other companies to join in the effort to make AI available to all. The future of technology can only move forward from here on out.

To learn more, please visit the University of Florida website and make sure to read the blog post from NVIDIA about the historic partnership with UF.