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    Carbajal: UCSB’s Selection as New National ‘AI’ Research Institute Another Proof Point That Central Coast is Leading in Emerging Fields

    UCSB is receiving $5,300,000 federal grant to spearhead research into use of AI in cybersecurity and privacy

    Congressman Salud Carbajal is highlighting a recent announcement by the White House and National Science Foundation that is giving the Central Coast another opportunity to lead in emerging fields of study and industry: artificial intelligence.

    Last month, UC Santa Barbara was selected as the lead university for one of seven new National AI Research Institutes, a designation that included a $5.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

    “Nearly one quarter of the way through the 21st century, we are entering a new technological and industrial revolution that is poised to completely change our day-to-day lives. From the race to adopt zero-carbon energy technologies, to the newest chapter in the space race, there is no shortage of cutting-edge fields that have moved from science fiction to our front pages. And whether it’s in our seas, our cities, or in outer space, the Central Coast is leading the way in this transformation,” said Congressman Carbajal. “As a Gaucho, I’m thrilled to see UCSB selected to be one of the spear-tips in AI research and cybersecurity. Their breakthroughs will join the work being done–like creating our nation’s first floating offshore wind platforms off our coastline, the rapidly-expanding commercial space industry in our backyard, and the long list of innovators who have chosen to make our communities home–that proves to the world that the cutting edge is on the Central Coast.”

    UCSB will lead the Institute for Agent-based Cyber Threat Intelligence and Operation (ACTION), a collaboration between more than 20 research institutions across the country, focusing on how AI can be utilized to anticipate and interrupt cybercrime and other threats to digital privacy for individuals and computer networks. 

    Congressman Carbajal has been a strong supporter of the National Science Foundation, which funded the creation of this Institute at UCSB, and specifically voted to increase its funding to universities through the CHIPS and Science Act.

    “AI is used routinely now, for things like malware analysis to identify malicious documents and malicious webpages,” said UC Santa Barbara computer science professor and cybersecurity expert Giovanni Vigna, who will head this $20 million, five-year project. “What we don’t have are entities that are capable of reasoning. This is an opportunity to bring artificial intelligence and security together in a novel way.”

    “UC Santa Barbara is excited to be working at the intersection of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity in a way that is responsive to the needs of and advances the well-being and security of our local, national and global society,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “This highly competitive award from the National Science Foundation is a strong indication of the cutting-edge and nationally renowned research that our Computer Science colleagues and collaborating universities are already conducting in this area. We are proud that Professor Vigna will be heading this multidisciplinary NSF-funded project that involves several of our campus colleagues and those from peer institutions across the country as they work together on novel and innovative approaches. Heartiest congratulations to our UC Santa Barbara faculty and their collaborators on the overwhelming success of their proposal.”

    The NSF funding comes as a part of The Biden-Harris Administration’s recent initiative to utilize artificial intelligence responsibly and for the purpose of protecting Americans’ rights and safety. 

    According to the White House, the National AI Institutes are chartered to catalyze collaborative efforts across institutions of higher education, federal agencies, industry, and others to pursue transformative AI advances that are ethical, trustworthy, responsible, and serve the public good. In addition to promoting responsible innovation, these Institutes bolster America’s AI R&D infrastructure and support the development of a diverse AI workforce.

    The addition of the seven institutes last month brings the total number to 25 across the U.S.

    Rep. Salud Carbajal
    Rep. Salud Carbajalhttps://carbajal.house.gov/
    Congressman Salud Carbajal represents the 24th Congressional District of California. The District includes the entirety of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, and a portion of Ventura County. Salud sits on the House Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Agriculture, and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where he was elected to serve as the Vice Chair.


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