On June 4, 2020, Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11) introduced the National AI Research Resource Task Force Act.  This bipartisan bill would create a task force to propose a roadmap for developing and sustaining a national research cloud for AI.  The cloud would help provide researchers with access to computational resources and large-scale datasets to foster the growth of AI.

“AI is shaping our lives in so many ways, but the true potential of it to improve society is still being discovered by researchers,” explained Rep. Eshoo. “I’m proud to introduce legislation that reimagines how AI research will be conducted by pooling data, compute power, and educational resources for researchers around our country.  This legislation ensures that our country will retain our global lead in AI.”

The sponsors of the bill cited the recommendations from the National Security Commission on AI submitted to Congress in March 2020 as one of the original motivations for the bill.  The Commission described China’s increasing investment in global AI research and development and recommended that Congress launch a “National AI Research Resource infrastructure.”

The bill directs that the task force be composed of equal representation from academia, government, and industry.  The roadmap would specify how the U.S. should build, deploy, administer, and sustain the research cloud.  There is particular focus on proper infrastructure for the portal, including security requirements and capabilities to facilitate access to computing resources for researchers across the country.  The bill also directs the task force to consult with key organizations like the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Notably, the bill has garnered support from leading technology companies and research universities that work on AI-related issues across all sectors, including healthcare.  Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) have also introduced a companion bill—National Cloud Computing Task Force Act (S. 3890)—in the Senate.

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