In the Labs: Connected vehicles in Ohio, artificial intelligence with UMass, Nortthwestern

Smarter cars and data scientists should result

In the Labs: Connected vehicles in Ohio, artificial intelligence in Illinois and Massachusetts

Activity on the tech labs front is happening faster than we can get to it these days, so here are a few "in case you missed it" items...

$45M for Transportation Research Center

The state of Ohio, JobsOhio and the Ohio State University are putting $45 million into an expansion of the Transportation Research Center's (TRC) 540-acre Smart Mobility Advanced Research and Test (SMART) Center in the Columbus area. Research will focus both on connected and driverless vehicles within this section of the 4,500-acre TRC expanse.

This first phase of SMART expansion will include the industry's largest high-speed intersection, an urban network of intersections (i.e., roundabouts, or what we in the Northeast call rotaries), a rural network that includes wooded roads and a neighborhood network for slower speeds.

MORE: 10 cool connected car features

TRC provides the largest independent vehicle testing facility in North America, according to TRC CEO Mark-Tami Hotta.

Research at TRC goes hand-in-hand with research elsewhere in Ohio, including along a Smart Mobility Corridor between the TRC and Columbus that has been primed with fiber-optic cabling and sensors that were enabled through previous funding. New tech can be tested in real-life traffic situations there, according to JobsOhio, which notes two additional smart highway projects are now being funded, too.

Magic Machines AI Labs

These labs are going to have quite the name to live up to. Lexalytics, a Boston-based text analytics software and services provider, has established what it's calling Magic Machines AI Labs at its office in Amherst to collaborate with the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Center for Data Science and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications.

With UMass (which counts Lexalytics CEO Jeff Catlin among its grads), Lexalytics will work with faculty and students in areas such as analyzing, visualizing and exploiting data, and overall, making the AI building process easier. Lexaytics has specialized in handling unstructured data, but is no slouch on the structured side either.

With Northwestern, Lexalytics will look to identify and test real-world applications for Magic Machines AI technologies. Perhaps frighteningly, they'll be aiming to advance ways marketers can use AI in their jobs.

Research at the labs will fall into categories such as swarm intelligence/emergent behavior, adaptive AI, transfer learning and meta-learning (see fuller explanations at the Magic Machines AI Labs website).

Check out our GPUs!

Speaking of UMass Amherst, the school is boasting of its new cluster of 400 graphics processing units (GPUs), which it says should attract a slew of Ph.D. students and researchers in areas such as AI, computer vision and natural language processing.

The cluster, which will process huge data sets via neural network algorithms, is housed at the Masachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, Mass., and was enabled by a five-year $5M grant from the state and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative last year. That grant represents a one-third match to $15M in funds from the MassMutual Foundation for data science and cybersecurity research.

The "Gypsum" cluster of GPUs is installed on 100 computer nodes, with storage and backup systems, and will be used for deep learning research on a variety of applications.

MORE: Open-source oriented RISELab emerges at UC Berkeley to make apps smarter & more secure

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