The University of Florida announced this week a new collaboration with tech giant IBM to launch a comprehensive skills program designed to extend UF’s vision to be an international leader in artificial intelligence, data science, fintech, and other related technologies that can help solve society’s biggest challenges.
UF — already ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of nation’s most innovative universities — and IBM will work together to support UF’s faculty and students as they develop diverse and high-demand skillsets in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, quantum cloud computing and data science that align with industry needs and trends. The collaboration will extend to West Palm Beach, where UF is exploring an opportunity to co-create academic programming at a new campus that will serve the needs of the region’s rapid influx of companies across sectors, including finance and technology.
The collaboration is the next step in UF’s ambitious goal to be the leading “AI University” in the nation. The initiative will help UF transform the nation’s workforce and bolster research by embedding technology into its curriculum across disciplines.
“This collaboration with IBM puts us on the fast track to leadership in helping the world meet the greatest challenges of the 21st century,” UF President Kent Fuchs said. “By deepening our progress in artificial intelligence and other critical information technology, it will give our professors, scientists and students the right tools at the right time — benefiting everyone from teachers preparing schoolchildren for career success to doctors providing patients the very best health care to farmers growing more sustainable, healthier, productive crops.”
In a memorandum of understanding, IBM is pledging to UF software and tools to bolster the university’s work in AI and data science, including hybrid cloud. The multi-year initiative with IBM includes plans to develop at least one new degree program in AI, and the provision of online coursework, software, lecturers and case studies from the IBM Academic Initiative. IBM will also help establish a campus center that focuses on finance and technology education and research, and will provide curated course content, access to the IBM Cloud, and digital certificates to award upon course completions.
The collaboration with IBM follows last year’s substantial and transformational investments from UF alumnus and NVIDIA co-founder Chris Malachowsky to boost the university’s AI and data science capabilities. UF’s AI University initiative is highlighted by more than $250 million in support from the university, the state of Florida and generous donors.