Industry Leaders and Advocates Celebrate Empire AI Consortium to Make New York a Global Leader in Artificial Intelligence

  • FY 2025 Enacted Budget Includes 10-Year, $275 Million Investment to Create a State-of-the-Art Artificial Intelligence Computing Center at the University at Buffalo
  • Governor Also Secures Agreement on Legislation to Promote Safe, Ethical AI By Requiring Disclosures on Political Communications That Include Deceptive Media
  • Builds on Governor’s Commitment to Making New York a Leader in Cutting-Edge Technology Development

Governor Kathy Hochul today gathered industry leaders and advocates to celebrate a historic agreement with the Legislature to establish Empire AI, a first-of-its-kind consortium to secure New York’s place at the forefront of artificial intelligence research, as part of the FY 2025 Enacted Budget. The consortium will leverage a $275 million state investment to create and launch a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence computing center on the University at Buffalo’s campus. The center will be used by leading New York institutions to promote responsible research and development, create jobs and advance AI for the public good.

“Whoever dominates the AI industry will dominate the next chapter of history and we want New York to win the race for the future,” Governor Hochul said. “Our Empire AI Consortium will position New York State at the forefront of this burgeoning industry for decades to come. Through this pioneering public-private partnership, we are fostering an ecosystem of innovation, research and growth that will drive countless new discoveries, launch new companies and products, and transform the way that New Yorkers live their lives for the better.”

Expanding Artificial Intelligence Across New York State

Access to the computing resources that power AI systems is prohibitively expensive and difficult to obtain. These resources are increasingly concentrated in the hands of large technology companies, who maintain outsized control of the AI development ecosystem. As a result, researchers, public interest organizations, and small companies are being left behind, which has enormous implications for AI safety and society at large. Empire AI will bridge this gap and accelerate the development of AI centered in public interest for New York State. Enabling this pioneering AI research and development will also help educational institutions incubate the AI-focused technology startups of the future, driving job growth.

The Empire AI consortium will include seven New York-based founding institutions: Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York, the City University of New York, and the Flatiron Institute. By increasing collaboration between New York State’s world-class research institutions, Empire AI will allow for efficiencies of scale not able to be achieved by any single university, empower and attract top notch faculty and expand educational opportunity, and give rise to a wave of responsible innovation that will significantly strengthen our state’s economy and our national security.

The initiative will be funded by over $400 million in public and private investment, including a $250 million State capital grant investment, and $25 million over ten years in SUNY funding. The project will also receive more than $125 million from the founding institutions and other private partners, including the Simons Foundation, whose Flatiron Institute works to advance research through computational methods, and Tom Secunda, co-founder of Bloomberg LP and the Secunda Family Foundation, which provides millions of dollars a year in grants to conservation, health care, scientific advancement and other causes.

In addition, as part of the Budget, Governor Hochul signed legislation to prioritize safe, ethical uses of AI as the state continues to build its AI footprint. The legislation includes a requirement that all forms of political communication – including image, video, audio, text or any technological representation of speech or conduct – disclose the use of materially deceptive media.

Our Empire AI Consortium will position New York State at the forefront of this burgeoning industry for decades to come.”

Governor Hochul

Governor Hochul’s Innovation Agenda

Governor Hochul’s commitment to advancing New York’s leadership in artificial intelligence builds on her broader agenda to expand cutting-edge technology development in the Empire State. Governor Hochul recently announced that IBM CEO Arvind Krishna and Girls Who Code CEO Dr. Tarika Barrett will co-chair the new Emerging Technology Advisory Board – an independent group of industry leaders tasked with informing and accelerating New York’s transformation into a hub for growth and innovation. The Governor previously signed New York’s historic Green CHIPS legislation to drive semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing in New York State and announced a $10 billion partnership to bring next-generation chips research to NY CREATES’ Albany NanoTech Complex. The Governor has continued to advance a $620 million Life Science Initiative to support innovation in biomedical research. And through strategic investments like the $113.7 million Battery-NY initiative, Governor Hochul has fueled the growth of the sustainability, green technology, and energy storage economies in New York State.

The Governor’s innovation agenda has catalyzed major public and private investments, transforming New York’s economy and creating good-paying jobs of the future. GlobalFoundries recently announced an $11.6 billion investment to expand its chip manufacturing campus in New York’s Capitol Region, creating 1,500 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs. In 2022, Micron announced a 20-year, $100 billion investment to create a megafab campus in Central New York, creating 50,000 new direct and indirect jobs and unlocking hundreds of millions of dollars in community benefits. The Governor’s Life Sciences Initiative helped to solidify New York’s selection for the $300 million Chan Zuckerberg Biohub New York, a biomedical research hub in New York City, and significant investments from Schrödinger, Inc., Deerfield Discovery and Development, and other life sciences businesses. Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation also announced a $160 million investment in Binghamton University’s New Energy New York Storage Engine to establish a hub for innovation, technology translation, and workforce development to grow the capacity of the domestic battery industry.

SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, “Thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul’s vision and leadership, the Empire AI research center for the public good will be a game changer for New York State, our consortium partners, and SUNY – including our four university centers: the University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, and Stony Brook University. As AI is increasingly woven into more aspects of our society, Empire AI is perfectly positioned to grow New York State as a leader in artificial intelligence research and development, and we are especially thrilled that it will be hosted at the University at Buffalo.”

CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “The Governor’s Empire AI initiative will allow CUNY to create equitable and accessible opportunities in artificial intelligence, providing our students and faculty with the tools needed to further research in this critical industry. We look forward to working with the state’s leading higher education institutions in the consortium to make New York a national leader in AI.”

Tech:NYC President & Executive Director Julie Samuels said, “The investment in Empire AI will ensure that New York State remains a leader in safe, equitable, and accessible AI research and development. We applaud Governor Hochul’s leadership and commitment to centering emerging technologies here and were grateful to discuss today the crucial impacts and advancements that AI will bring to industries and local economies statewide. We look forward to working closely with Governor Hochul and those who joined us today as we move into the next phase of Empire AI.

Bloomberg LP & Empire AI Founding Contributor Tom Secunda said, “Empire AI is a visionary collaboration between public and private universities in New York, and an example of what can happen when you nurture the seeds of innovation. This first-in-the-nation, academically research-focused artificial intelligence computing center will grant researchers across the state access to essential computing resources, catalyzing innovation, and fostering the recruitment of global tech talent. Governor Hochul’s pivotal investment in AI research underscores New York’s commitment to shaping the future, and serving as a national leader in AI.”

New York University Chief Research Officer & Vice Provost for Research Stacie Bloom said, “Empire AI demonstrates that New York State and its public and private institutions are committed to research-based innovation that has, at its core, the goal of ensuring that the proliferation of AI is done in a responsible way and serves the public interest. We thank Governor Hochul and the New York State legislature for their leadership in turning this first-in-the-nation proposal into a reality.”

Cornell University Vice President for Research & Innovation Krystyn Van Vliet said, “Cornell is honored to host today’s event, which brings leaders in academic research and government from across New York state to Cornell Tech to celebrate Empire AI, a historic investment in research resources that can benefit society and do the greatest good. Cornell researchers are already adapting AI to the most urgent issues facing our world today, from agriculture and nutrition to policy and medicine. By establishing a shared academic research computing facility, Empire AI ensures that Cornell and other leading academic institutions can drive innovation and discovery in New York state using the most advanced AI tools to pursue responsible, purpose-driven research.”

Cornell University Vice Provost of Cornell Tech Greg Morrissett said, “Empire AI will provide unprecedented resources to our university’s researchers to explore a range of opportunities that we currently have to leave to industry to explore. And industry doesn’t necessarily have the same incentives that academic researchers do around fairness, accountability, and transparency. We thank Governor Hochul for her leadership championing the Empire AI consortium, which will spur new jobs, new knowledge, economic growth, and create an environment conducive to our tech sector’s long-term success. The Empire AI consortium will be transformational for Cornell Tech and we are thrilled to be a part of this exciting development for New York State.”

CUNY Graduate Center Interim President Joshua Brumberg said, “With the passage of Empire AI, Governor Hochul has put New York State on the map as a leader of the new frontier for responsible AI innovation. We’re thrilled to be a part of this new chapter for our state, and look forward to working with our academic consortium partners to pursue AI research and development for the public good while building safer and more equitable communities.”

SUNY System Provost and Research Foundation President Ram Ramasubramanian said, “New York State is at the forefront, yet again, of research and economic development, thanks to both the investments prioritized by Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature and their facilitation of public and private partnerships to uncover the benefits of artificial intelligence. For our researchers across SUNY, and for higher education across the state, this is a tremendous opportunity to be a part of the Empire AI consortium, and on behalf of the SUNY system, it is an honor and an opportunity to be at the heart of the innovation.”

Stony Brook University, SUNY College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean Andrew Singer said, “At Stony Brook University, we are excited to share in this moment, proud to join our partners in Empire AI, and grateful to Governor Hochul and her vision to position New York as a national leader. The rapid growth of AI systems will continue to have profound effects on all aspects of society from education and healthcare to the way we do business and go about our lives. This pivotal investment and historic legislation opens doors to collaboration — across our state — that will drive research, foster innovation and entrepreneurship, and continue to build New York’s economy.”

University at Buffalo, SUNY Vice President for Research & Economic Development Venu Govindaraju said, “For four decades, the University at Buffalo has been breaking ground in artificial intelligence, establishing UB as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the field. As we build on this impactful legacy as the home of Empire AI, we look forward to working with Governor Hochul, our colleagues from SUNY, CUNY, private research universities and our philanthropic partners to harness the power of artificial intelligence for the public good. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for your bold vision for New York State. We are honored and ready to serve as the home of Empire AI and to help position New York State at the forefront of the AI revolution.”

University at Albany, SUNY Vice President for Research & Economic Development Kesh Kesavadas said, “Empire AI is the forward-thinking approach New York needs to leverage the enormous diversity of AI expertise across its public and private universities, and Governor Hochul and the Legislature should be commended for recognizing the importance of this technological moment. At UAlbany, we are using AI to help New York tackle critical challenges related to climate change and weather prediction, next-generation semiconductor design and ensuring that new AI systems are developed responsibly in service of the public good.”

Binghamton University, SUNY Vice President for Research Bahgat Sammakia said, “Binghamton University sees tremendous potential in this initiative. Our researchers are eager to contribute to work that will harness the power of AI to benefit society. Having access to this type of computing power will boost research and scholarship across a number of disciplines of vital importance to human health and national security.”

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