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Navigating Future Scientific Frontiers


From its historic place as the fourth node of the original Internet, through many other groundbreaking milestones, the U has carved a path of technological innovation. This legacy continues at the U’s Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute with the new Responsible AI Initiative, led by Manish Parashar. Joining as director of the SCI Institute in 2021, Parashar brought his expertise in enhancing national cybersecurity and advancing scientific discovery through computing. Anchored by a $100 million investment, the AI initiative is a bold stride into a future where artificial intelligence is crafted with conscience and clarity.

What happens at the SCI Institute?

We use complex computing and data analytics to enable innovative solutions to real-world challenges. SCI started 30 years ago, and we’ve grown from a small group with big ideas into a powerhouse known around the world for using computation, data, and images to understand and solve scientific puzzles. Imagine using cutting-edge tech to get a clearer picture of how cancer grows or to figure out the hidden links between our environment and mental health. That’s what we do. We use technology to make life better for everyone.

What is the Responsible AI Initiative? 

AI is the most impactful technological advancement of our time. And we’re leading the charge to ensure it is developed with an ethical compass, deeply considering the impact on our moral and societal fabric. This initiative is a meeting ground for experts from diverse fields—where computer scientists sit with ethicists, lawyers, and other scientists to mold smart and socially aware AI and apply it to important regional challenges. 

Education is key; we’re dedicated to demystifying AI ethics through resources that prepare students and professionals for the future. We’re reaching out to the community and engaging everyone, from the public to policymakers, ensuring our AI solutions are inclusive and transparent.

How will SCI’s leadership strategically enrich the AI initiative?

The essence of SCI’s approach is collaboration without boundaries. For instance, our joint ventures with humanities to probe the ethical dimensions of computer science highlight our dedication to a well-rounded exploration of AI’s societal implications. The Responsible AI Initiative will amplify these efforts as we aim to cultivate a generation of AI practitioners who are not only technically proficient but also ethically attuned and socially conscious.

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