Portman, Heinrich Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Develop National Cloud Computer for AI Research

June 4, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the bipartisan National Cloud Computing Task Force Act, which will establish a task force to develop a detailed roadmap for the development of a national cloud computer for Artificial Intelligence (AI) research. This legislation will convene a group of technical experts across academia, government, and industry to develop a detailed roadmap for how the United States can build, deploy, govern, and sustain a national research cloud. U.S. Representatives Anthony Gonzales (R-OH) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) are introducing the House companion to the Senate bill.  

“We cannot take America's AI leadership for granted. With China focused on toppling the United States' leadership in AI, we need to redouble our efforts with a sustained commitment to the best and brightest by developing a national research cloud to ensure our technical researchers get the tools they need to succeed,” said Portman. “This legislation takes the first steps towards a national research cloud. By democratizing access to computing power we ensure that any American with computer science talent can pursue their good ideas.”

“Artificial Intelligence is likely to be one of the most transformative technologies of all time. If we defer its development to other nations, important ethical, safety, and privacy principles will be at risk, which not only harms the United States, but also the international community as a whole. That is why it is critical that we bridge the gap between public and private developers and collaborate on efforts to develop a sustainable, national research cloud – bringing everyone into the fold,” said Heinrich. “I am proud to introduce this bicameral, bipartisan legislation as a first step to increasing access to the type of supercomputing capability once reserved only for government labs and universities. Providing these capabilities to researchers, developers, and entrepreneurs around the country will ensure that America stays at the cutting edge of AI technology.” 

"The use of artificial intelligence technology will be a defining technology of the 21st century," said Congressman Anthony Gonzalez. "This task force will help establish a framework for the use of AI in the U.S. that can ensure our innovators are able to lead on the global stage long into the future. I am proud to partner with Rep. Eshoo and Senator Portman on this bill, and I look forward to continuing to promote American leadership and innovation in 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," said Rep. Anna G. 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 Ohio State University supports Senator Portman’s National Artificial Intelligence Research Resources Task Force Act,” said Morley O. Stone, Senior Vice President for Research at The Ohio State University. “This bill will explore the creation of a shared cloud computing infrastructure for researchers across the country. By bringing together academia, government and the private sector, we can dramatically increase the speed in which the U.S. can innovate in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning.” 

“The National AI Research Resource Task Force Act of 2020 is vital to American innovation,said John Etchemendy, Denning Co-Director, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI); Provost Emeritus, Stanford University. “A National Research Cloud will give academic researchers the tools needed to advance artificial intelligence far into the future. It will also elevate the ability of all colleges and universities to provide the research and teaching needed to maintain our competitiveness in AI. I applaud Congresswoman Eshoo and Senator Portman on taking the first step towards a National Research Cloud through this key piece of legislation. 

NOTE: As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, Portman has helped lead efforts in the Senate on this issue, and has worked in a bipartisan manner on several key measures to set high-quality standards around emerging technology, including cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.