ASU unveils first-of-its-kind organization to advance AI across the enterprise

Recognized as the nation's most innovative university by U.S. News and World Report for eight years and counting, ASU is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. In continuing to chart the pathway of tech and innovation, ASU’s Enterprise Technology announced today the launch of AI Acceleration, a new team of technologists dedicated to creating the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

The group is chartered with providing positive outcomes for students, paving new pathways for groundbreaking research, and developing the technical infrastructure for more efficient business operations. 

AI Acceleration is part of a larger initiative being led by ASU's Enterprise Technology to drive strategy across the university that empowers all students, faculty and staff to leverage the advantages of AI to enhance their daily work. 

Under the leadership of Executive Director Elizabeth Reilley and AI Technology Director Zohair Zaidi, AI Acceleration brings together a team of 15 people working as machine learning operations (MLOps) engineers, data scientists and AI development engineers to drive the development of AI platforms and products. 

“Our goal is to develop AI platforms and products that effectively cater to the needs of students and society," says Reilley. "This encompasses technologies that enhance learning, knowledge, and overall progress for everyone, along with tools that improve the accessibility, affordability and personalization of higher education.”

Work under the AI Acceleration team is already underway. For example, a new platform is being developed that provides next-generation AI technology to teams across the university. The platform is designed to accomplish various tasks, such as training and deploying large and discreet language models, natural language processing (NLP), predictive modeling and more — regardless of their knowledge of software development. By leveraging these models, the university can make informed decisions that enhance retention, enrollment, operations, and student experience. 

The platform places AI capability into the hands of staff and faculty, providing lower barriers to entry, quicker deployment and ensuring maintainability and scalability.

“Our success in working with AI will be gauged not just by technological breakthroughs but also by our capacity to collaborate and create solutions that bring about a positive social impact,” continues Reilley. “Above all, our vision is to leverage the ingenuity of AI to foster the advancement and equitable distribution of human potential.”

Enterprise Technology is deeply rooted in the university's mission towards social transformation, entrepreneurship, principled innovation and addressing society's greatest challenges. With the launch of this first-of-its-kind initiative, ASU builds upon its well-established, widely-known role as a leader of technological advances in the nation.

"We take pride in our principled approach to innovation, differentiating ourselves in the AI and higher education landscape," says Lev Gonick, ASU's Chief Information Officer. "Our focus is on delivering tangible outcomes and creating change guided by values and ethical understanding  to positively impact the ASU community and beyond."