Purdue Announces Physical AI Development Push

The new Purdue Institute for Physical AI aims to transform artificial intelligence development through agricultural, manufacturing, and transportation applications.
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Published on April 25, 2023
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  • The institute is part of a new Purdue Computes initiative.
  • The institute will explore fields including AI-based manufacturing and open agricultural data.
  • The university will partner with several companies including pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company.

Move over ChatGPT. Purdue University students will soon be able to go beyond the natural language processing vision for artificial intelligence (AI) to learn about how the technology may transform physical sciences.

This month, Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, launched the Purdue Institute for Physical AI (IPAI) as part of its Purdue Computes initiative. Purdue said IPAI operates at the intersection of tech where "bytes-meet-atoms" and aims to transform AI development through physical applications and vice versa.

Among the topics students will have a chance to explore through IPAI are:

  • Open agricultural data
  • Neuromorphic computing
  • Deep fake detection
  • Edge AI systems
  • Smart transportation data
  • AI-based manufacturing

"Through this strategic research leadership, Purdue is focusing current and future assets on areas that will carry research into the next generation of technology," said Karen Plaut, executive vice president of research, in a press release. "Successes in the lab and the classroom on these topics will help tomorrow's leaders tackle the world's evolving challenges."

As the institute grows, Purdue will develop residential and online degree and certificate programs around AI.

The university said it will also partner with pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company and startup High Alpha.

IPAI is the second of three pillars that make up Purdue Computes. The two other foundations are the university's computing departments and semiconductor education and innovation.

IPAI will have a 17-faculty member steering committee and an advisory board of alumni in the AI industry from companies like Tesla, Intel, Apple, and Ring.