Paul Allen offers up $8M for artificial intelligence researchers to uncover ‘world-changing breakthroughs’

paulallen2For the fourth year in a row, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation is taking proposals from researchers interested in working on using “risky, novel approaches” to study artificial intelligence (AI) topics like machine reading, diagram interpretation and reasoning, and spatial and temporal reasoning.

As part of the Allen Distinguished Investigator (ADI) Program, the foundation will offer $1 to $2 million for five to eight projects — a total of $8 million — over a three-year period.

The foundation’s goal is to give this year’s ADI researchers the ability to “answer big, open questions of science that may be too risky or bold for traditional sources of funding.”

Oren Etzioni is heading up the recently-launched Allen Institute for AI.

Oren Etzioni is heading up the recently-launched Allen Institute for AI.

“We don’t shy away from the untried or untested. Instead, we look for the curious and the bold,” Jody Allen, co-founder and president of the Foundation, said in a statement. “We are looking for researchers that are driven by this same passion — to look for a cutting-edge approach that will pioneer and expand science and result in breakthroughs that will help change the world.”

The focus on AI topics for 2014 is related to the vision of the recently-launched Allen Institute for AI, a multi-million dollar effort led by Oren Etzioni that could have huge implications for the region’s tech industry and, more importantly, society as a whole. Etzioni, a former UW computer science professor and veteran entrepreneur, began work at the institute this past fall.

However, the ADI Program is a distinct from the new Allen Institute for AI and is fully funded and operated by the foundation.

Those interested in submitting a proposal can do that here. The deadline is May 30.

  • Mentifex

    There is something wrong with the link. It should be http://www.allenai.org.

  • Brad Arnold

    I apologize for being off topic and sort of weird, but the best use of Paul Allen’s grants is to promote the solution to the world’s energy problem – clean, almost free, and super abundant energy generated by hydrogen inside a nickel lattice. The main bottleneck to our economy and technology is expensive polluting and scarce energy…so ironically the best way to promote, say AI, is to first unbridle the world economy. Ever hear of the Law of Accelerating Returns?

    Here is a primer, I’ve got much more that would convince any reasonable mind, but due to space constraints…

    Check out this third-party verification of a LENR reactor that will soon hit the market: http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3913
    “Given the deliberately conservative choices made in performing the measurement, we can reasonably state that the E-Cat HT is a non-conventional source of energy which lies between conventional chemical sources of energy and nuclear ones.” (i.e. about five orders of magnitude more energy dense than gasoline, and a COP of almost 6).

    This phenomenon (LENR) has been confirmed in hundreds of published scientific papers: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJtallyofcol.pdf

    “LENR has the demonstrated ability to produce excess amounts of energy, cleanly, without hazardous ionizing radiation, without producing nasty waste.” – Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center

    “Total replacement of fossil fuels for everything but synthetic organic chemistry.” –Dr. Joseph M. Zawodny, NASA

    By the way, here is a survey of some of the companies that are bringing LENR to commercialization: http://www.cleantechblog.com/blog/2011/08/the-new-breed-of-energy-cataly

    For those who still aren’t convinced, here is a paper I wrote that contains some pretty convincing evidence: http://coldfusionnow.org/the-evidence-for-lenr/

    One of the largest semi-conductor manufacturers in the world ST Microelectronics with an annual turnover of $8 Billion has just filed a patent for a LENR reactor, joining the list of companies in the LENR business: http://www.google.com/patents/US20130243143