Foundation Models Academic Research (AFMR) - circular background pattern

Accelerating Foundation Models Research

Engaging the broader community in reimagining computing research

“AI is evolving faster than we ever thought possible, and the opportunities it’s opening up are mind-blowing. But this is more than shiny new tech; it’s about making a difference in the world. That’s why we’re launching this program—to build a global network of researchers who are as diverse as the challenges we face. We’re not just talking about models and algorithms; we’re talking about crossing boundaries, be it language, culture, or academic fields, to tackle some really big issues. Simply put, we aim to ensure that AI isn’t just for the few, but a game-changer for us all.”

— Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research & Incubations

Foundation models are fuelling a fundamental shift in computing research, natural sciences, social sciences and computing education itself. And as industry-led advances in AI continue to reach new heights, we believe that a vibrant and diverse research ecosystem is essential to realizing the promise of AI to benefit each individual, organization and society worldwide.

Accelerate Foundation Models Research (AFMR) is a new research initiative where we are on a journey, working together with the broader academic research community, to explore different aspects of foundation models to accomplish three goals:

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Align AI with shared human goals, values, and preferences via research on models

which enhances safety, robustness, sustainability, responsibility, and transparency, while ensuring rapid progress can be measured via new evaluation methods

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Improve human interactions via sociotechnical research

which increases trust, human ingenuity, creativity, and productivity, and decreases the digital divide while reducing the risks of developing AI which does not benefit individuals and society

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Accelerate scientific discovery in
natural sciences

via proactive knowledge discovery, hypothesis generation, and multiscale multimodal data generation

AFMR is a global research network and a resource platform, which enables a network of researchers with different expertise to engage on solving together some of the greatest technical and societal challenges of tomorrow. AFMR includes a grant program that provides access to state-of-the-art foundation models hosted on Microsoft Azure through Microsoft Azure AI services. Through AFMR our goal is to foster more collaborations across disciplines, institutions, and sectors, and to unleash the full potential of AI for a wide range of research questions, applications, and societal contexts. To that effect we engage with the research community through Calls for Proposals, mind-swaps, workshops, conferences.

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