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SDSC Launches SPARK AI, New Industry-Focused R&D Consortium

Published November 14, 2023

The challenge of responsibly developing and governing artificial intelligence is the central focus of SPARK AI, the new R&D and educational consortium launched today at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego. According to Director James Short, “Many of AI’s most pressing questions cannot be reliably answered at this time. SPARK’s mission is twofold — to advance knowledge, strategy and practice in industry, to achieve business success, competitive advantage and responsible governance — and in civic society, to influence the development and adoption of modern, transparent and trustworthy governance and regulatory policy.”

SPARK AI’s founders include corporate sponsors, university research partners, and government organizations. Corporate sponsors include Dell Technologies, Intel Federal, Washington DC-based platform services company AEEC, Boston-based investment company Back Bay Group and healthcare startup 1upHealth, San Diego based healthcare firms LunaPBC and LifeVoxel.AI, technology consultancy Thoughtworks, and international law firm Pillsbury LLP.

“The benefits of AI technologies have tremendous potential to streamline City services and improve the user experience for our residents and businesses in San Diego” said Jonathan Behnke, Chief Information Officer for the City of San Diego. “The partnership with the SPARK AI Consortium provides valuable resources from experts in academia and industry with case-based R&D to develop strategies and applications while applying best practices for AI policy and governance.”

SPARK AI’s consortium model is designed to foster collaboration and innovation by engaging a diverse range of stakeholders and perspectives in artificial intelligence. As stated by Jeff Boudreau, Chief AI Officer at Dell Technologies, “The advancement of mainstream AI requires an enhanced spirit of collaboration across industries and governing bodies. After all, it is our collective responsibility to shape the future of AI and ensure innovation is balanced with responsible governing. Our participation in SPARK AI helps ensure that balanced approach.”

In healthcare, researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University will collaborate with SPARK in investigating AI’s potential to revolutionize nutrition science and health policy. According to Professor Elena Naumova, “AI can help in developing advanced algorithms that can predict individual responses to food and dietary patterns, moving nutrition science towards personalized nutrition, identifying optimal individual diets, and improving overall health outcomes.”

SPARK AI is anchored at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, a pioneer in high-performance and data-intensive computing and cyberinfrastructure. “SPARK AI is a new addition to SDSC’s commitment to creating venues for leaders in industry, government, and civic organizations to collaboratively define the technology and governance processes that will help ensure that AI benefits the whole of society,” said Rick Wagner, SDSC’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). “We are excited to participate in these discussions and contribute solutions to the technology challenges all organizations face with AI’s rapid rise.”

For more information contact:  James Short at