Rome Lab, collaborators show value of working together

Posted 8/27/19

Although it is still only in its infancy, congratulations to all of those involved in the development and construction of a $12 million center for collaborative research into the next generations of …

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Rome Lab, collaborators show value of working together

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Although it is still only in its infancy, congratulations to all of those involved in the development and construction of a $12 million center for collaborative research into the next generations of computer technology and artificial intelligence at the Griffiss International Airport.

The center, which is set to be called the Open Innovation Campus, is a partnership planned for Building 100 at Griffiss among Oneida County, the owner of the airport; SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which is expanding its research and education in emerging areas of computer science; the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, also known as Rome Lab; and the Griffiss Institute, which facilitates turning Rome Lab research into commercial applications.

The center is intended to link researchers from government, industry and academia to share top minds, ideas and facilities and expand upon the $2 billion annual federal investment in Rome Lab.

Rome Lab, and its workforce, have been monumental in the redevelopment of the area’s economy in the post-Griffiss Air Force Base realignment and closure, anchoring what has become a high-tech, yet diversified, business park at the site of the former Air Force base.

The 40,000 square-foot, three-floor center, officials say, will house two quantum labs, other labs, event space as well as room for training and classrooms.

The labs will house research into neuromorphic computer science, a form of artificial intelligence aimed at expanding computers’ capabilities more efficiently by mimicking the way the human brain adjusts itself as it learns, and quantum computing, a different approach to building and using computers to make them far faster, efficient and capable of more applications.

While we can barely begin to fathom the science behind the emerging technology, the applications — and the impact — could have tremendous importance both in terms of our national security and in terms of our future economic well being.

The center is seen as helping keep and grow the commercialization of research done at Rome Lab, which was established for World War II military aviation research and now develops command, control, and communications for the Air Force.

From the compact disc to this new frontier in computing, Rome Lab has been an indispensable community partner and asset.

The area economic impact from the Rome lab was estimated at $412 million for fiscal 2018, according the most recent annual Air Force analysis, and it employs about 780 people directly.

Oneida County is contributing $5.6 million toward the project, and New York State Empire Development and the New York State Department of Transportation Aviation Bureau are providing $1.4 million and $1.5 million respectively, according to county officials. Additional funding will also come from Griffiss Institute.

Partnerships like these are essential — and seldom easy. We commend all of the agencies and individuals involved in bringing this project to fruition.

We look forward to the center’s helping the Griffiss Institute expand its work in technology transfer and commercialization.

Likewise, we look forward to the time in the not too distant future when the Griffiss International Airport and the Griffiss Business and Technology Park are at the forefront of two emerging technologies: Unmanned aerial systems and quantum computing.

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