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Two faculty members from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Tickle College of Engineering—Lynne Parker and Mark Dean, both of them also alumni—have been named to the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force.

In addition to their shared ties to the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, both Parker and Dean, now professor emeritus, have served as interim dean of the college, giving UT a strong connection to the new task force.

Under the direction of Congress, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced the creation of the group, whose goal is to develop an implementation road map for a shared national artificial intelligence research infrastructure.

Lynne Parker

“To investigate their innovative ideas in AI, academic researchers need secure access to powerful computing infrastructure and privacy-preserving data,” said Parker, who is serving as co-chair of the task force in her current role as director of the National AI Initiative Office at OSTP. “Increased access to these resources will expand participation in cutting-edge research to a wider and more diverse range of researchers.”

The National AI Initiative Act of 2020 mandated the formation of the new group to guide increased access to computational resources, high-quality data, educational tools, and user support for AI researchers and students across all scientific disciplines. The task force recommendations will include technical capabilities, governance, administration, assessment, and requirements for security, privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

The group is to deliver a report on initial findings in May 2022, with a final report coming in November of that year.

Mark Dean

“This project will help align AI priorities and procedures across research, business, and academia,” said Dean. “The report that we come up with and the conclusions that we reach should help guide US policy for the future growth of AI.”

For the agencies involved, the group’s work and findings will help provide dividends in terms of both research and workforce development.

“America’s economic prosperity hinges on foundational investments in our technological leadership,” Science Advisor to the President and OSTP Director Eric Lander said in a release announcing the task force. “The National AI Research Resource will expand access to the resources and tools that fuel AI research and development, opening opportunities for bright minds from across America to pursue the next breakthroughs in science and technology.”

“NSF is delighted to co-chair the National AI Research Resource Task Force, which has the essential role of envisioning the research infrastructure that will drive future innovations in AI,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan in a released statement. “By bringing together the nation’s foremost experts from academia, industry, and government, we will be able to chart an exciting and compelling path forward, ensuring long-term US competitiveness in all fields of science and engineering and all sectors of our economy.”

In addition to Parker and Dean, the group includes 10 other high-profile people from within the computing and AI fields:

  • Erwin Gianchandani, NSF (co-chair)
  • Daniela Braga, DefinedCrowd
  • Oren Etzioni, Allen Institute for AI
  • Julia Lane, New York University
  • Fei Fei Li, Stanford University
  • Andrew Moore, Google
  • Michael Norman, University of California, San Diego
  • Dan Stanzione, the University of Texas at Austin
  • Frederick Streitz, US Department of Energy
  • Elham Tabassi, National Institute of Standards and Technology

More on the initiative and NAIRR can be found at


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