New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced an agreement with the state legislature to establish Empire AI – a consortium that the governor’s office said will secure New York’s place at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) research. The agreement comes as part of the state’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget.

The new consortium will use $275 million in state funds to launch an AI computing center on the University at Buffalo’s campus. The center will be used by leading New York institutions to promote responsible research and development, create jobs, and advance AI for the public good. In addition to the state funding, the initiative will receive additional private and public investment – for a total funding of roughly $400 million.

“Whoever is at the forefront of artificial intelligence will dominate the next chapter of human history – and I’m committed to seizing that opportunity here in New York,” Gov. Hochul said. “AI will have a transformational effect on our economy and industries, and these investments ensure that we are using the extraordinary growth opportunity to benefit New Yorkers.”

The consortium was created in part to help improve access to AI research and development resources.

The governor’s office noted that access to computing resources that power AI systems is prohibitively expensive and difficult to obtain because they often are concentrated in the hands of large technology companies. The governor’s office said that that problem is leading to researchers, public interest organizations, and small companies being left behind. State leaders believe Empire AI will bridge this gap and accelerate the development of AI centered in the public interest for New York State.

The Empire AI consortium will include seven New York-based founding institutions: Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York, the City University of New York, and the Flatiron Institute.

By increasing collaboration between New York’s research institutions, state leaders said Empire AI will allow for efficiencies of scale not able to be achieved by any single university, empower and attract top faculty, and expand educational opportunities.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs