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Universities plan future of research around AI

Malachowsky Hall is 263,000 square feet and is expected to be finished in late April. (Jake Bower/WUFT News)
Malachowsky Hall is 263,000 square feet and is expected to be finished in late April. (Jake Bower/WUFT News)

When NVIDIA co-founder Chris Malachowsky approached University of Florida Provost Joe Glover with the idea of implementing an AI supercomputer at UF in the summer of 2020, Glover said he was caught “flat-footed.”

Since then, UF has become one of the first universities in the world to offer AI courses across its entire curriculum. The university wants AI learning to “make UF a national leader in AI and have far-reaching impacts for the university and its students and faculty,” according to UF’s website.

UF plans to unveil Malachowsky Hall in April. Malachowsky, a UF alumni, donated partial funding for the building. Malachowsky Hall will serve as a data science and information technology hub and “create a transformative experience at UF,” said UF Board of Trustees Chair Mori Hosseini in a press conference in 2020.

According to NVIDIA’s website, a year after the partnership was revealed in July of 2020, UF rose to the top five spot in US News and World Report’s top public colleges in the US, “in part, a recognition of UF’s vision for infusing AI into its teaching and research.”

The use of artificial intelligence has made its way around UF’s entire campus. UF Assistant Geology Professor Mickey MacKie said in an interview with UF she uses “machine learning to help make predictions about the conditions and topography under the ice in places we don’t have measurements.”

Northrop Grumman is one of the leading cybersecurity and defense companies in the world. UF student Scott Tobin is an incoming intern at Grumman and believes that machine learning has great capabilities to solve problems.

“AI has the capability to provide valuable insights and help us understand complex problems,” he said.

UF isn’t the only campus in Florida taking advantage of AI; researchers at Florida State University have found that there’s a lack of motivation for older adults to participate in studies.

FSU has begun the use of AI research to develop systems “that encourage older adults to participate in aging-related research,” according to FSU’s website.

Despite the momentum created by UF with AI the past couple years, the rapid adoption around campus has led some students to be wary.

Sabrina Wong, a sophomore nutritional science major, thinks that the use of AI should be slowed so it doesn’t take away the need for humans.

“I guess it has a high probability of taking away jobs, just something to be cautious about,” she said.

Tobin also understands potential risks that are associated with AI. However, he says that its development shouldn't be slowed down.

“We should prioritize education and training programs that promote the responsible development and use of AI,” he said.

Jake is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing