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UMass Gets $5.5M Chan-Zuckerberg Grant for Healthcare AI Work

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will partner with the UMass Center for Data Science on a $5.5 million grant project to enhance healthcare using artificial intelligence.

UMass gets 5.5M Chan-Zuckerberg grant

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Data Science will partner with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) for an artificial intelligence project that will accelerate healthcare research and development.

The partnership includes an initial grant of $5.5 million from CZI, their first donation and partnership with UMass.

The project, called Computable Knowledge, will use a branch of artificial intelligence (AI) known as knowledge representation and reasoning to create a navigable map of scientific research. Andrew McCallum, director of the Center for Data Science at UMass Amherst, will lead the project.

“This project has the potential to accelerate the work of millions of scientists around the globe,” said Cori Bargmann, president of science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

“Andrew McCallum and the Center for Data Science at UMass Amherst are global leaders in artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Andrew will bring deep knowledge and expertise to this effort, and we are honored to partner with him.”

Computable Knowledge will allow scientists to discover, explore, and navigate potential connections among more than 60 million new and historical research articles.

The up-to-date collection of published scientific texts will also help scientists track discoveries, uncover patterns, and deliver new insights.

“We are excited for the opportunity to advance our research in deep learning, representation and reasoning for such a worthy challenge,” said McCallum.

“We believe the result will be a first-of-its-kind guide for every scientist, just as map apps are now indispensable tools for navigating the physical world. We hope our results will help solve the mounting problem of scientific knowledge complexity, democratize scientific knowledge, and put powerful reasoning in the hands of individual scientists,” he continued.

Once finished, the service will be available through Meta, a free CZI tool. In addition to their donation, CZI is building a team of AI scientists to collaborate on the project.

McCallum expects the donation to result in hiring software engineers in Western Massachusetts to work on the project. It will also help several graduate, PhD, and doctoral students conducting related research in the Center for Data Science, and create internships for UMass Amherst students at other CZI projects worldwide.

“We are grateful for CZI’s generous support and recognition of UMass Amherst’s leadership in artificial intelligence,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Subbaswamy.

“Andrew McCallum and his colleagues are engaged in extraordinary and innovative research, and we are thrilled to be partners with CZI in their goal to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of the century.”

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