Indiana University will receive about $4.4 million over the next two years to fund research and education related to the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering’s Trusted AI. It’s part of its participation in the Scalable Asymmetric Lifecycle Engagement microelectronics workforce development program.
This funding is part of a five-year expansion of the SCALE program through additional Department of Defense funding of $10.8 million and a ceiling of $99 million. The expansion of the program will further its goal to develop a next-generation workforce that can return the United States to prominence in global microelectronics manufacturing.
The Trusted AI part of SCALE is a collaboration between Indiana University, IUPUI, the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, and Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division to further Trusted Artificial Intelligence research and workforce development.
“As AI technologies become more commonplace, we need to better understand how people and AI can work together. This will involve creating AI systems that can be trusted and can explain their reasoning to people, as well as understanding how people develop trust in AI systems,” said David Crandall, Luddy professor of computer science and director of the Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence, who is the PI for the IU portion of the project. “SCALE’s unique approach has allowed us to assemble a highly interdisciplinary group of students and faculty to address the inherently interdisciplinary problem of trust in AI-human collaboration.”
At Indiana University, AI spans multiple departments. In addition to Crandall, the IU and IUPUI portion of the project is led by 11 co-PIs spanning two campuses, three colleges/schools, and six departments. They include:
- Bennett Bertenthal, professor of psychological and brain sciences
- Saúl Blanco, assistant professor of computer science
- Katy Börner, professor of intelligent systems engineering
- Jean Camp, professor of informatics
- Lauren Christopher, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at IUPUI
- Chunfeng Huang, associate professor of statistics
- Apu Kapadia, professor of computer science
- David Leake, professor of computer science
- Gregory Lewis, assistant professor of intelligent systems engineering
- Andrew Lukefahr, assistant professor of intelligent systems engineering
- Chris Raphael, professor of computer science
The IU project involves about 40 students at all levels, including undergraduates, Masters, Ph.D., and postdocs.
“Our faculty and students have made amazing progress during the first year of the project, and I’m very excited that this funding will allow us to expand it over the next two years,” Crandall said.
SCALE aims to train skilled U.S. microelectronics engineers, hardware designers and manufacturing experts. SCALE brings together a public-private-academic partnership of 17 universities and 34 partners within the defense industry and government. The industry and government partners regularly meet and update a list of knowledge, skills and abilities important for new entrants to the workforce. The SCALE universities then update their curriculum to ensure the students are prepared for upcoming needs in the rapidly advancing microelectronics field.
“The Luddy School is excited to participate in a collaboration that will return the United States to the forefront of microelectronic manufacturing,” said Joanna Millunchick, dean of the Luddy School. “With our exceptional Trusted AI faculty and students, we have the skill and expertise to educate and build a state-of-Indiana workforce to meet 21st Century needs.”
Goals for the overall SCALE project for the next five years include:
- Expanding student participation in SCALE fivefold to more than 1,000.
- Developing learning models for K-12 classrooms.
- Collaborating with community colleges nationwide to develop microelectronics classes.
The SCALE program aligns with economic development work that Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has advanced in recent months, focusing on putting Indiana at the forefront of microelectronics production to bolster the state’s economy and enhance U.S. national security.
Specifically designed microelectronic chips and packages power the technologies used every day from cellphones, computers and cars to pacemakers, the internet and the electrical grid. Power and affordability have improved, but are reaching the physical limits of standard design and production. SCALE aims to develop students to fill every level of the expanding microelectronics workforce.
The demand for microelectronics increased by 26.2 percent in 2021. But while the United States consumes about half of the chips produced worldwide, only about 12 percent are manufactured in this country.