November 02, 2023

Manchin Announces $9 Million to Establish New Artificial Intelligence Master's Programs in West Virginia

Senator Manchin secured the funding in the FY23 NDAA for the joint programs at West Virginia University, Marshall University, three additional universities

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Cybersecurity Subcommittee, announced $9,000,000 to establish two new Master’s programs in artificial intelligence (AI) development and practical machine learning. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected West Virginia University (WVU), Marshall University (MU), Florida International University (FIU), Dakota State University (DSU) and Arizona State University (ASU) for the collaborative programs.

“I’m thrilled to announce these two new Master’s programs in artificial intelligence and practical machine learning, which will be designed in partnership with DARPA,” said Senator Manchin. “AI is changing the world as we know it, and West Virginia must be at the forefront of these new technologies to protect our competitive advantage over China and Russia and allow us to better support our allies around the world. This all starts with education and I look forward to working with DARPA and our university partners, which include WVU and Marshall, to establish these cutting-edge programs.”

“Cybersecurity in the era of AI presents an undeniable challenge, but through DARPA's grant, we are actively addressing and overcoming it. Our forthcoming online graduate program will empower students not only within our state but also beyond to tackle the cybersecurity concerns related to AI, thus reshaping potential threats to foster a more secure digital landscape, making a significant impact on critical infrastructure for the future," said Dr. Anurag K. Srivastava, Raymond J. Lane Professor and Chairperson, Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at West Virginia University.

“Marshall University is excited to participate in this groundbreaking initiative in partnership with DARPA and other institutions of higher education across the country to develop a cutting-edge master's degree program in Artificial Intelligence. We appreciate Senator Manchin’s tireless efforts to continue to elevate West Virginia as a hub for innovation, as well as position our students at the forefront of these transformative technologies,” said Dr. David Dampier, Dean of Engineering and Interim Director of the MU Institute for Cyber Security at Marshall University.

Senator Manchin secured this funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The efforts at WVU, MU, and FIU will focus on how to develop and secure trustworthy AI, including applications addressing the cybersecurity of AI robot systems and the AI-enabled power grids. The efforts at DSU, supported by ASU, include courses on the applications of AI for security, including leveraging AI for operational cybersecurity. These programs, which are anticipated to launch in the fall of 2025, are the first of their kind and will include online options to reach thousands of students within the first year.