University of South Carolina announces AI institute

A shared space will allow faculty and students a chance to work together across disciplines to solve difficult problems facing various industries.
(Getty Images)

The University of South Carolina announced plans last week to open an artificial intelligence institute that give students and faculty a shared space for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The institute, which the university hopes to have running by this fall, will focus on research to advance AI applications across a wide range of industries, Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, told EdScoop.

“[Industries] are already being transformed or will be transformed by artificial intelligence,” Haj-Hariri said. “The window where we can really lead the injection of research into application areas is open,” he said.

To drive innovation and develop cutting-edge solutions using AI, the institute will draw on the knowledge and experience of students and faculty from all 15 colleges across the university’s campus, making it a hub for interdisciplinary collaboration.


“Physical space is really important,” Haj-Hariri said. Without an epicenter for research and development of AI tools, he said, researchers would not be able to freely and easily share ideas.

“[Students] will be truly transdisciplinary because, to them, they are not working in health care, they are not working in energy, they are working in all of these,” said Haj-Hariri.

While each industry has unique challenges to overcome, AI researchers can make impactful discoveries by coming together to work on common solutions to shared problems, he said.

The AI institute will also give students the chance to have hands-on experiences.

“[It is] important for students to actually see how things work,” said Haj-Hariri. “You need to put things into context.”


As the institute grows over the next several years, Haj-Hariri said he hopes to see the next generation of AI technologies continue to transform daily life and business.

“Right now, AI is being used and applied within the known space … but the next generation is where AI can actually use the physics and the knowledge base that humans have developed and actually create new knowledge,” he said. “Life will be transformed as it [has been] transformed already.”

Betsy Foresman

Written by Betsy Foresman

Betsy Foresman was an education reporter for EdScoop from 2018 through early 2021, where she wrote about the virtues and challenges of innovative technology solutions used in higher education and K-12 spaces. Foresman also covered local government IT for StateScoop, on occasion. Foresman graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 — go Frogs! — with a BA in journalism and psychology. During her senior year, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and moved back to the capital after completing her degree because, like Shrek, she feels most at home in the swamp. Foresman previously worked at Scoop News Group as an editorial fellow.

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