Governor Murphy and Princeton announce plans to establish an artificial intelligence hub in New Jersey

Written by
Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications
Dec. 20, 2023

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy joined University President Christopher L. Eisgruber on Monday to announce plans to create an artificial intelligence innovation hub for the state, in collaboration with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

“With today’s announcement, New Jersey — alongside Princeton University — is poised to shape the future of this revolutionary field and unleash a new century of game-changing discovery,” Murphy said, describing the planned AI hub as “a new home for the world’s boldest and brightest to pioneer breakthroughs for the betterment of humankind.”

Said Eisgruber: “Together we will leverage Princeton’s leadership in AI and the strengths of the central New Jersey region to establish an integrated hub of AI activity.”

State and University officials gathered for the announcement in Princeton’s historic Chancellor Green rotunda, joined by representatives from the AI industry, New Jersey’s higher education and business communities, and local government.

Officials said the initiative will bring together AI researchers, industry leaders, start-up companies, and other collaborators to advance research and development, house dedicated accelerator space, advance the use of ethical AI for positive societal impact, and promote workforce development to support new technology development, in collaboration with other New Jersey universities, community colleges, and vocational schools.

“With this hub, we have the potential to pioneer technologies that could unlock new cures for debilitating diseases, or new solutions for combating climate change, or new methods for educating our students so that every child can receive the personalized attention they deserve and need to reach their full potential,” Murphy said. “With AI, we have a chance to confront — and perhaps overcome — some of the greatest challenges facing our world.”

In his remarks, Eisgruber spoke to the collaborative promise of the new initiative, which he said will build on the University’s “strong partnerships with and proximity to many of New Jersey’s other leading higher education institutions,” including Rutgers University, and “will bring together AI researchers, industry leaders, start-up companies and other collaborators to foster AI innovation in central New Jersey.”

The planned AI hub fits into Princeton’s vision for the coming years, the president said. “Princeton’s strategic framework recognizes the promise and societal implications of artificial intelligence — as well as the University’s unique capacity to meet these challenges,” he said. “Working to establish this hub for AI will further our efforts in this important area, while strengthening the regional ecosystem of innovation and advancing Princeton’s broader teaching and research mission.”

Eisgruber continued, “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our local communities, our higher education partners, and of course the great state of New Jersey as we pursue further innovations and discovery in AI and work to establish this hub.”

He also announced that Princeton and the state will co-host an AI conference on April 11 to convene "leaders from academia, industry, and government to discuss the most pressing AI issues of the day.”

State leaders have worked closely to formulate the scale and shape of the hub with University Provost Jennifer Rexford, Vice President and Secretary Hilary Parker, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science Andrea Goldsmith, Vice Dean for Innovation Craig Arnold, and Assistant Vice President for State Affairs David Reiner.

Rexford outlined what makes the University uniquely positioned to support and expand New Jersey’s AI innovation ecosystem.

“Here at Princeton, we’re really fortunate to have three main strengths that are allowing us to tackle important challenges in this area,” said Rexford, who is Princeton’s Gordon Y.S. Wu Professor in Engineering, a member of Princeton’s Class of 1991, and a computer scientist.

“The first is our foundational strengths,” she said. “Our researchers are focusing on how to make AI methods more accurate, more efficient, more explainable — better in every way.”

Princeton’s second strength, Rexford said, is its commitment to interdisciplinary research. “Our colleagues are applying AI to disciplinary data in fields all over campus, using them to advance and accelerate discovery in a wide range of fields.”

The third strength that she highlighted is Princeton’s commitment to service. She cited the University’s informal motto: “in the nation’s service and the service of humanity.”

“Our researchers are using AI to tackle societal challenges in new ways that were not possible before and also grappling with new challenges that AI itself is introducing,” she said.

Among the University’s initiatives, as Eisgruber noted in his remarks, are the Center for Information Technology Policy, which brings together policy experts, engineers and academic researchers; Princeton Precision Health, which uses artificial intelligence to inform medical care; and the Princeton Language and Intelligence initiative, which explores how large language models will affect society.

The other speakers at the hub announcement were Tim Sullivan, chief executive officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and Beth Noveck, the chief innovation officer for the state.

“Today is a pretty bold and historic declaration that New Jersey intends to lead the pack,” said Sullivan. “New Jersey and Princeton intend to lead the charge in doing this right.”

Noveck underscored Princeton’s long history of computing innovation, including the contributions of Alan Turing and John von Neumann.

“It’s not just artificial intelligence that matters; it’s collective intelligence,” she said. “It’s the collective smarts and talent of the people here in the great state of New Jersey and here at Princeton and in our academic institutions around the state. When we bring them together — human ingenuity combined with artificial intelligence — there’s really no limit to what we can do.”

Information from a news release issued by the office of Gov. Phil Murphy was used in this article.