UW News

April 9, 2024

UW joins $110M cross-Pacific effort to advance artificial intelligence

UW News

officials pose for a group shot

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced a new innovation partnership between the UW and the University of Tsukuba supported by Amazon and NVIDIA at a ceremony Tuesday in Washington, D.C. From left to right, Raimondo, Amazon Senior Vice President David Zapolsky, UW Provost Tricia Serio, University of Tsukuba President Dr. Kyosuke Nagata, NVIDIA Vice President Ned Finkle, and Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Moriyama Masahito. The partnership is aimed at furthering research, entrepreneurship, human resource development and social implementation in the field of artificial intelligence.US Department of Commerce

The University of Washington and the University of Tsukuba have entered an innovation partnership with NVIDIA and Amazon aimed at furthering research, entrepreneurship, workforce development and social implementation in the field of artificial intelligence. This U.S.-Japan academic partnership is part of a broad, $110 million effort to build upon the strong ties between the U.S. and Japan and to continue to lead innovation and technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

The groundbreaking agreement involving universities and industry leaders in both countries was announced on April 9th in Washington, D.C. as part of Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s historic state visit. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, and Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Moriyama Masahito announced two new research partnerships in artificial intelligence between the University of Washington and the University of Tsukuba and between Carnegie Mellon University and Keio University. These partnerships are supported by $110 million in combined private sector investment from NVIDIA, Amazon, Arm, Microsoft, and nine Japanese companies. Amazon and NVIDIA will each invest $25 million in this collaboration.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the UW to lead the global conversation on AI and to convene academic researchers, industry experts and governmental leaders to not only advance the workforce, but to change lives and communities by leveraging this powerful technology,” said UW Provost Tricia Serio.

“This is an exciting effort that brings together the talents and expertise of cutting-edge, world-class universities,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “Advancements in AI are happening at a breakneck pace. This collaboration will help provide the research and workforce training for our regions’ tech sectors to keep up with the profound impacts AI is having across every sector of our economy.”


Read related coverage in The Seattle Times, GeekWire and The Wall Street Journal.

At the invitation of Ambassador Emanuel, the UW has been forging ties with the University of Tsukuba over the past year, with a focus on shared expertise in artificial intelligence. Tsukuba is known in Japan for being at the center of scientific research and innovation, much like Seattle’s reputation for fostering technological breakthroughs and being home to some of the world’s biggest technology companies.

“We are honored to work with Amazon and NVIDIA as well as with the University of Tsukuba to advance artificial intelligence and global engagement,” said Nancy Allbritton, dean of the College of Engineering. “Tsukuba is a science city just as Seattle is, and we see a tremendous opportunity to leverage the university and the whole ecosystem to create a better future on both sides of the Pacific. We are grateful to Ambassador Emanuel for catalyzing this landmark partnership.”

Faculty and staff from the College of Engineering will spearhead UW interdisciplinary efforts. This multi-year partnership will feature work in areas where AI can drive transformative change to benefit society, including healthcare, robotics, climate change and atmospheric science, among others. The funding will support research awards, post-doctoral and doctoral students, an undergraduate summer research program, and an entrepreneurship bootcamp program.

Artificial Intelligence is the third strategic university-corporate partnership initiative concluded between American and Japanese academic institutions and the corporate sector since May 2022, when President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Kishida made a commitment to advance U.S.-Japan science and technology cooperation. The UW also is the lead partner on UPWARDS, a program focused on workforce development for the semiconductor industry supported by Micron, Tokyo Electron Limited and the National Science Foundation.