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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.

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