Date Posted: 3/23/2022

By Louis DiPietro

A multimillion-dollar grant from LinkedIn to the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science (Cornell Bowers CIS) has launched a five-year strategic partnership to support research in artificial intelligence and other areas, and to bolster diversity initiatives within the college.

The partnership – a first for both LinkedIn and the college – provides annual funding to Cornell Bowers CIS to support doctoral students, engage faculty through research support and amplify efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion. It also establishes a research connection between LinkedIn’s scientists and engineers, and faculty and students in Cornell Bowers CIS, one of the top artificial intelligence programs in the U.S.

“This exciting partnership advances our commitment to being an academic leader of innovation for all students and allows for unique research collaborations with a forward-thinking, global company,” said Kavita Bala, dean of Cornell Bowers CIS.

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn – with 810 million members worldwide – is the world’s largest professional network. The new partnership will advance its work in key AI research areas, such as fairness and equity, as well as play a role in moving diversity efforts forward through supporting underrepresented students.

“Cornell Bowers CIS is a research leader in both artificial intelligence and labor statistics,” said Ya Xu, head of Data and AI at LinkedIn. “This partnership enables us to work hand-in-hand to design novel AI solutions built to connect more people to economic opportunity as we all navigate the new world of work. As head of LinkedIn’s Women in Tech group, I’m also excited that LinkedIn can contribute to and support CIS’ commitment to bring diversity to the school through initiatives such as Women in Computing at Cornell (WICC).”

“When thinking about partnerships, matched interest is top-of-mind for us,” said Souvik Ghosh ’08, director of engineering, AI, at LinkedIn. “Cornell Bowers CIS’ commitment to world-class AI research and diversity is directly aligned with our vision at LinkedIn, and we believe that through using AI technologies, we can succeed in our mission of providing economic opportunity to everyone.”

The commitment from LinkedIn will provide financial support to doctoral students working in strategic research areas and support initiatives such as CSMore, a summer program from rising sophomores in computer science, and student groups including Under-Represented Minorities in Computing at Cornell and WICC. Roughly 43% of Cornell Bowers CIS’ 2,000 undergraduate majors are women, and 16% are underrepresented minorities, but Bala said there is still much work to be done.

“LinkedIn’s vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce will inspire exciting new research that can make a difference in the world,” said Thorsten Joachims, associate dean for research at Cornell Bowers CIS and a professor of computer science and information science. “Our new model of strategic partnership provides the framework for sustained and long-term cooperation.”

Louis DiPietro is a writer for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.