Press Releases


MEDIA INQUIRIES: Jess D’Amelia | [email protected]

NEW YORK, NY – Today, Julie Samuels, Tech:NYC President & CEO, released the following statement in response to the FY25 New York State budget agreement, which included funding to establish the Empire AI consortium – a bold and first-in-the-nation initiative that will position New York as the national frontrunner in responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation.

“A new chapter for responsible AI starts today. Governor Hochul’s Empire AI initiative will attract the top minds in AI to New York’s universities, support them with resources that right now only exist at the biggest tech companies, and spur research that will benefit New Yorkers in unimaginable ways. Make no mistake, Empire AI will ensure the center of gravity for AI innovation and development is in New York.

“Tech:NYC proudly advocated for Empire AI throughout the budget process, and we commend Governor Hochul and our lawmakers in Albany for seizing control of our future with this important initiative. This is the first of many victories for Empire AI and the state’s private and public universities and institutions that will utilize this state-of-the-art AI research center.”

Members of the Empire AI consortium and additional supporters shared the following statements: 

John B. King, Jr., SUNY Chancellor: “Thanks to Governor Hochul’s leadership, Empire AI represents a momentous opportunity for the state of New York, SUNY, and our Empire AI Consortium partners to lead on the use of artificial intelligence for the public good. We are proud that the University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, and Stony Brook University will be able to conduct groundbreaking research through Empire AI, and we are grateful that UB has been selected as the home of this leading-edge technology.”

Martha E. Pollack, President of Cornell University: “I’m excited to see New York leaders taking the next steps to support the development of a groundbreaking shared computing facility that will allow thought leaders from Cornell and other consortium partners across the state to focus on innovative and responsible AI tools. It’s important that academic research institutions in New York collaborate to create AI technology that serves the public good, from enhancing medical care to optimizing technology used in greenhouses feeding people across the state. I want to offer sincere thanks to Governor Hochul and all those who have advocated for this partnership to create a leading edge, shared academic research computing facility that will benefit all New Yorkers.”

Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, CUNY Chancellor: “The inclusion of Empire AI in the state budget is a crucial step in making New York and CUNY national leaders in AI research and development. CUNY is looking forward to working with other higher education institutions in the newly formed consortium to create equitable and accessible opportunities in this growing field.”

Martin A. Schmidt, RPI President: “Empire AI is a win for the Capital Region and New York. This investment will generate valuable opportunities for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s faculty and students as they continue RPI’s 200-year tradition of advancing technology for the common good. We commend Governor Hochul for her vision to mobilize the state’s leading research institutions around the shared mission of exploring how artificial intelligence can be used for everyone’s benefit. We are excited to partner our fellow Empire AI members to work toward this goal.”

Jeannette M. Wing, Executive Vice President for Research and Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University: “Empire AI will allow academic institutions in New York State, including Columbia University, do cutting-edge research in AI.  With the magnitude of this investment in computing capability, we can do AI research that cannot be done at any one university, that would not be done by industry, and that can lay the scientific and ethical foundations of AI for generations to come.”

Stacie Bloom, Chief Research Officer & Vice Provost for Research, New York University: “Empire AI demonstrates that New York State and its public and private institutions are committed to research-based innovation that has, at its core, the goal of ensuring that the proliferation of AI is done in a responsible way and serves the public interest. We thank Governor Hochul and the New York State legislature for their leadership in turning this first-in-the-nation proposal into a reality.”

Josh Brumberg, Interim President of the CUNY Graduate Center: “With the passage of Empire AI, Governor Hochul has put New York State on the map as a leader of the new frontier for responsible AI innovation. We’re thrilled to be a part of this new chapter for our state, and look forward to working with our academic consortium partners to pursue AI research and development for the public good while building safer and more equitable communities.”

Maurie McInnis, Stony Brook President: “By investing in Empire AI in this year’s state budget, Governor Hochul and leaders in Albany have taken critical steps to position New York State as a national leader in artificial intelligence for the public good. The opportunities are limitless for impact on the future of education, workforce development, research, healthcare, and more. As an example of the power of this tool, at Stony Brook, our faculty work at the intersection of climate and AI; have deep research focused on AI and healthcare, energy, and advanced computational science; and have partnerships with Brookhaven National Lab that has one of the largest AI groups in a national lab. Stony Brook looks forward to partnering with Empire AI to facilitate and steward the important role AI can play in the lives of New Yorkers.”

Havidán Rodríguez, President of the University at Albany: “The University at Albany is excited to collaborate with our colleagues across higher education, industry, government, and the non-profit sector through the new Empire AI Consortium. I am grateful to Gov. Hochul and the leaders of New York’s Senate and Assembly for their vision and commitment to advancing the development of AI in New York and cementing our state’s position as a leader in this transformational space. As one of the most diverse public research universities in the nation, UAlbany will continue to prioritize responsible and inclusive AI development that benefits all New Yorkers. With our Center for Emerging AI Systems, in collaboration with IBM, and our innovative AI Plus initiative, UAlbany is already moving quickly to lead AI research and education,” 

Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University: “We want to thank Governor Hochul and New York Legislators for their support of the Empire AI initiative. This will be a critical resource in achieving our academic goals of preparing our students for the future, advancing AI technology and channeling its power to help society. Empire AI will link together colleges and universities and their faculty and students with industry partners to pool New York’s collective brainpower and resources. It’s a win-win scenario in which New York supports and expands academic and research opportunities at its institutions of higher education as well as taking economic and ethical leadership of this emerging technology.”

Satish K. Tripathi, University at Buffalo President: “The University at Buffalo is delighted and honored to be a part of the groundbreaking Empire AI consortium, which will place our region, state and nation at the forefront of the artificial intelligence revolution. As a university that is nationally and internationally recognized for our responsible AI research and application, UB is deeply committed to harnessing our multidisciplinary expertise in AI to serve the public good. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Governor Kathy Hochul for her bold vision for New York State and to the New York State Legislature for their steadfast support of this transformative initiative.”


About Empire AI

Empire AI is a proposed consortium that would be created to launch a state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence computing center in Buffalo. The consortium is comprised of several higher education institutions including SUNY, CUNY, Columbia University, Cornell University, NYU, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), as well as philanthropic backers such as Tom Secunda and the Simons Foundation. Intended to promote responsible research and development, create jobs, and unlock AI opportunities focused on public good in New York, this initiative will bridge the gap between private funding and public interest through investments in both sectors to accelerate the development of AI centered in public interest for the state. 

Additional information can be found HERE.

Published: Apr 22, 2024


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