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Universities and Tech Giants Back National Cloud Computing Project


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Leading universities and major technology companies agreed on Tuesday to back a new project intended to give academics and other scientists access to the computing resources now available mainly to a few tech giants. From a report: The initiative, the National Research Cloud, has received bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Lawmakers in both houses have proposed bills that would create a task force of government science leaders, academics and industry representatives to outline a plan to create and fund a national research cloud. This program would give academic scientists access to the cloud data centers of the tech giants, and to public data sets for research. Several universities, including Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Ohio State, and tech companies including Google, Amazon and IBM backed the idea as well on Tuesday. The organizations declared their support for the creation of a research cloud and their willingness to participate in the project. The research cloud, though a conceptual blueprint at this stage, is another sign of the largely effective campaign by universities and tech companies to persuade the American government to increase government backing for research into artificial intelligence. The Trump administration, while cutting research elsewhere, has proposed doubling federal spending on A.I. research by 2022. Fueling the increased government backing is the recognition that A.I. technology is essential to national security and economic competitiveness. The national cloud legislation will be proposed as an amendment to this year's defense budget authorization. "We have a real challenge in our country from China in terms of what they are doing with A.I.," said Representative Anna G. Eshoo, Democrat of California, a sponsor of the bill.

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