WSU’s AgAID Institute attends White House event on AI

Six people posing for a group photo at AI Aspirations in Washington, D.C.
Representatives from four national artificial intelligence institutes with Wendy Nilsen (3rd from left) from NSF. (photo by NSF)

Leadership from WSU’s AgAID Institute recently participated in a White House-sponsored event focused on demonstrating the transformative possibilities of artificial intelligence.

The “AI Aspirations: R&D for Public Missions” event held in Washington, D.C. in early June brought together leading experts from across the federal government as well as from universities and industry. The event featured discussions on how AI might be used for the public good in areas such as medicine, transportation, agriculture, and energy, as well as how its risks can be mitigated.

WSU participants in the conference included engineering Professor Ananth Kalyanaraman, the AgAID Institute’s director, and Jordan Jobe, the institute’s manager.

WSU leads the AgAID Institute, the Institute for Agricultural AI for Transforming Workforce and Decision Support. The multi-institutional research institute aims to develop AI solutions for agriculture particularly in the areas of labor, water, weather, and climate change. The institute began in 2021 with a $20 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.

The institute is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative effort involving faculty and scientists with expertise on a diverse range of areas in computer science, agriculture and agricultural outreach. As part of their efforts, the researchers work directly in developing AI solutions with people who will use them, including farmers, workers, and policy makers.

Two people standing at an information booth about using AI for apple picking.
Ananth Kalyanaraman, AgAID Institute director, and Jordan Jobe, institute manager, at the AI Aspirations events. (photo by NSF)

The group is also working to raise AI skill levels and open new career pathways by developing education programs, including for K–12 students as well as through higher education and worker training. The group’s aim is to improve career opportunities for agricultural workers and to attract students to agriculture and computing professions. The event was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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