Eight projects awarded funding for AI research to mitigate COVID-19


Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Diwakar Shukla leads one of eight Illinois projects awarded funding from the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute to help mitigate COVID-19.

Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Diwakar Shukla leads one of eight Illinois projects awarded funding from the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute to help mitigate COVID-19.

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer


Narendra Ahuja

Photo courtesy Beckman Institute

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Eight University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign projects are among 26 to receive the first C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute awards for artificial intelligence techniques to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The institute will provide a total of $5.4 million over the next year to projects that examine the medical, social and economic impacts of the novel coronavirus and inspire researcher collaboration in advanced machine learning and other AI disciplines.


Subhonmesh Bose

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

The Illinois project proposals selected are led by electrical and computer engineering professors Narendra Ahuja and Subhonmesh Bose; computer science department head Nancy Amato and professors Sanmi Koyejo and Lui Sha; mechanical science and engineering professor Prashant Mehta; mathematics professor Zoi Rapti; and chemical and molecular engineering professor Diwakar Shukla.


Nancy Amato

Photo courtesy computer science

The C3.ai DTI is a research consortium of universities and corporations managed by the U. of I. and the University of California, Berkeley. Its mission is to sponsor and fund the application of AI to accelerate the pace of digital transformation in business, government and society.


Sanmi Koyejo

Photo courtesy computer science

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at Illinois also is a member of the consortium. Illinois electrical and computer engineering professor Rayadurgam Srikant is a co-director, and U. of I. computer science professor Tandy Warnow is a co-chief scientist of the C3.ai DTI.


Lui Sha

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

“I am very proud of the wide range of disciplines that Illinois brought to the table for this endeavor,” Srikant said. “We will be covering mathematical modeling, logistics, the economy, bioinformatics, chemical sciences, privacy and telemedicine. Our projects will focus on fundamental ideas that will not just help with this pandemic and future pandemics, but aim to have immediate results within the next year.”


Prashant Mehta

Photo courtesy mechanical science and engineering

The selected Illinois proposals fall into six of the seven award categories. They include Sha’s project in AI for epidemiology, social good and clinical use; Bose, Mehta and Rapti’s projects in mathematical modeling, control and logistics; Amato and Shukla’s projects in computational biology; Ahuja’s project in imaging/computer vision; and Koyejo’s project in distributed computing.


Zoi Rapti

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Please visit the C3.ai DTI funded research projects list for a full list of award recipients, categories and project titles.

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