Columbia U. Partners with Amazon for A.I. Research Center

CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos (R) gestures as he addresses the Amazon's annual Smbhav event in New Delhi on January 15, 2020. - Bezos, whose worth has been estimated at more than $110 billion, is officially in India for a meeting of business leaders in New Delhi. (Photo by Sajjad …

Columbia University announced this week that it is working with Amazon to create a research center for the development of AI technology. The center, which will be based in New York City, will operate for the next five years on a $5 million donation from Amazon.

According to a press release, Columbia University and Amazon are teaming up to create a research center in New York that will focus on the development of artificial intelligence. The program will be run by a coalition of researchers including select Ph.D. students studying engineering at the university.

Mary C. Boyce, the dean of the engineering school at Columbia University, said that she is “thrilled” that the university is partnering with Amazon to work on AI research.

“AI will have an enormous impact on every aspect of our lives, fundamentally changing how we work, learn, access resources and services, and connect to one another,” Boyce said. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Amazon, a true innovation leader, to leverage our collective expertise and advance AI in a way that is responsible, effective, and beneficial to society.”

Amazon’s Prem Natarajan, a vice president in the Alexa division, is similarly excited about the launch of the partnership.

“We are delighted to join forces with Columbia University, bringing together top talent from our two organizations in a joint mission to find solutions to the most challenging problems in AI,” Natarajan said. “With an emphasis on translational research, the new center will emphasize approaches and solutions that are informed by diverse perspectives from multiple disciplines.”

The New York AI Research Center will not be the first collaboration between Columbia University and Amazon. Earlier this year, Amazon gave the university $2.5 million for a clinical trial on plasma therapy for COVID-19 treatment.

Breitbart News reported in May that Columbia University was one of the few institutions that accepted federal aid under a coronavirus relief bill passed by congress. Although many of its peer institutions rejected aid funding, Columbia accepted $12.8 million in relief funding. Columbia University currently boasts an endowment of approximately $11 billion.

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