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NCSA’s Delta Prominent Choice of NAIRR Pilot Researchers

An image of NCSA's Delta supercomputer. The supercomputer is wrapped in a colorful design, the word Delta shifts from violets to oranges and yellows, and triangular color shapes surround it.

Delta at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications is one of the artificial intelligence (AI) computing resources of choice for researchers in the first round of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) Pilot projects recently announced by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy (DOE).

Of the initial 35 projects supported by the NAIRR Pilot, 27 will utilize resources on NSF-funded advanced computing systems – a majority of which received allocations on NCSA’s Delta. The additional eight projects will have access to DOE-supported systems, including the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the AI Testbed at Argonne National Laboratory.

NCSA and the Delta team are excited to support the innovative AI projects researchers are undertaking through the NAIRR Pilot. The future of artificial intelligence is one of the biggest unknowns facing the academic and research computing communities. NCSA is proud to partner with NAIRR, NSF and the DOE in attempting to find answers to these complex questions and empower AI research in a safe, responsible and equitable manner.

Bill Gropp, NCSA Director

These pilot projects focus on a wide variety of AI-related topics, including language model safety and security, privacy and federated models, and privacy-preserving synthetic data generation. Some projects dive into the domain-specific research of the climate, aquatic, medical and agricultural sciences.

“Today marks a pivotal moment in the advancement of AI research as we announce the first round of NAIRR pilot projects. The NAIRR Pilot, fueled by the need to advance responsible AI research and broaden access to cutting-edge resources needed for AI research, symbolizes a firm stride towards democratizing access to vital AI tools across the talented communities in all corners of our country,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “While this is only the first step in our NAIRR efforts, we plan to rapidly expand our partnerships and secure the level of investments needed to realize the NAIRR vision and unlock the full potential of AI for the benefit of humanity and society.”

The second round is now open for researchers and educators to gain access to Delta and other AI resources through the NAIRR Pilot by applying through its website.

The NAIRR Pilot embodies a commitment to diversity and collaboration, recognizing that the strength of the U.S. AI ecosystem depends on having a research and education community which reflects the diversity of our nation. By fostering a strong and responsible AI research ecosystem, the pilot aims to empower a wide range of perspectives and technical directions from researchers and educators from U.S. institutions, including those from underrepresented groups, nonprofits and small businesses.

Check out the NSF announcement for more information on NAIRR and the pilot projects.


NCSA combines next-generation processor architectures and NVIDIA graphics processors with forward-looking user interfaces and file systems to create Delta, a powerful computing and data analysis resource that is part of the national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem through ACCESS. The project partners with the Science Gateways Community Institute to empower broad communities of researchers to easily access Delta and with the University of Illinois Division of Disability Resources & Educational Services and the School of Information Sciences to explore and reduce barriers to access. Delta is funded through NSF OAC 2005572.

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