C3.ai DTI announce awards for AI set to harden security

At its annual research symposium, C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute announced the third round of its awards focused on AI for information security

The third round of C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute’s (C3.ai DTI) awards looks at artificial intelligence (AI) set to transform cyber security and secure critical infrastructure, which C3.ai Chairman and CEO Thomas M. Siebel says is “an existential issue.”

Established in 2020 by C3.ai, Microsoft, and leading universities, the C3.ai DTI is a research consortium dedicated to accelerating the benefits of AI for business, government, and society. 

To do this, it engages the world’s leading scientists to conduct research and train practitioners in the new Science of Digital Transformation, specifically looking at AI technologies, machine learning (ML), cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT), big data analytics, organisational behaviour, public policy, and ethics. 

“Protection of critical cyber infrastructures has never been more important than now. The pace of digital transformation is providing huge opportunities but also new vulnerabilities. This is the time to harness the potential of AI/ML to strengthen vital defences and build resilience across sectors,” said S. Shankar Sastry, C3.ai DTI co-director at the University of California, Berkeley, and a cybersecurity researcher himself. 

C3.ai DTI issued this call for proposals in December 2021 and now awards 24 research projects on AI. These projects look to identify, isolate, and neutralise threats, including malware, backdoors, zero-day vulnerabilities, phishing attacks, the weaponisation of innocent insiders, and other adversarial attacks.  

“We are covering the field applying AI to counter the most sophisticated adversarial attacks – from early detection to identification to neutralisation,” said R. Srikant, C3.ai DTI co-director at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an AI network expert. 

C3.ai DTI: preventing and isolating a wide range of cyber security threats

In this round of awards, the Institute awarded a total of US$6.5mn in cash to the 24 recipients, who are affiliated with many of the world’s top universities including MIT, Carnegie Mellon and Princeton.

These recipients use AI to prevent and isolate a wide range of cybersecurity threats across eight categories: AI Resilience; Anomaly Detection, AI techniques; Advanced Persistent Threats, AI techniques; Attack Simulation; Forensics; Vulnerability Identification; Insider Threats; and Supply Chain.

On top of the cash awards, C3.ai DTI has provided recipients with cloud computing, supercomputing, data, and software resources, including free, unlimited use of the C3 AI® Suite.

The recipients will also receive up to US$2mn in Azure Cloud computing resources, and access to High Performance Computing (HPC) resources at the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Centre (NERSC). 

To support the Institute, C3.ai is providing the Institute US$57,250,000 in cash contributions over the first five years of operation. 

Then, C3.ai and Microsoft will contribute an additional US$310mn of in-kind support, including the use of the C3.ai Suite and Microsoft Azure computing, storage and technical resources to support C3.ai DTI research.

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