UT Austin launches a pioneering initiative in AI-accelerated civil engineering with a $7M NSF award

Originally published on: Geoelements news

The University of Texas at Austin is launching Chishiki.AI an innovative project supported by a $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Chishiki aims to revolutionize Civil and Environmental Engineering by integrating artificial intelligence. Chishiki will focus on enhancing U.S. infrastructure, developing AI-accelerated applications, and building a community of Cyber Infrastructure (CI) professionals. The project is in collaboration with the Cornell Virtual Workshop.

Transforming U.S. Infrastructure with AI

Chishiki.ai aligns with key objectives outlined in the 2020 National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act and the 2022 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The project aims to strengthen U.S. infrastructure by building an integrated community of Computational Infrastructure professionals (CIPs) across AI and CEE sectors. Strategic Approaches

The Chishiki project leverages four primary strategies to cultivate a sustainable, diverse, and integrated community of CIPs:

Additionally, Chishiki provides peer mentoring and collaborates with the NSF ACCESS Computational Science Support Network (CSSN) to bolster research activities in CI and CEE.

Forging Future CIPs

The Chishiki Graduate and Undergraduate Fellowships are integral to fostering a diverse and sustainable pipeline of future CyberInfrastructure Professionals (CIPs). The Graduate Fellowship welcomes students from various academic backgrounds who are keen on CI-oriented careers and Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) applications. This fellowship includes a full-year stipend, allowing graduate fellows to stay at their home universities during the academic year and participate in an intensive summer residency at UT Austin. Additionally, Chishiki supports the Undergraduate Training Program for five undergraduates each summer with full stipends. We offer intensive training and independent projects to help undergraduates explore CIP career pathways, emphasizing real-world problem-solving and the development of specialized CI skills.

Educational Innovations in AI and CEE

Chishiki.ai introduces new courses for CI professionals, covering areas such as AI4CI, CI4AI, and Scientific Machine Learning. These courses delve into AI-enabled programming, AI-enhanced performance tuning of High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems, AI-driven knowledge discovery, and the development of large-scale AI systems. A notable aspect is the integration of techniques for explainable AI and differentiable programming.

Scalable Learning with AI

The project pioneers a novel learning environment using Large Language Models and reinforcement learning to create personalized educational materials. This AI tutor system will generate individualized quizzes and explanations, tailored to each learner’s unique needs and abilities. These resources will be available as open-access content on the Cornell Virtual Workshop (CVW) learning platform.

Innovative Research Directions in AI-Enhanced Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Chishiki.ai project is set to revolutionize Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) with the integration of AI. The project emphasizes three critical areas:


AI accelerated surrogate model with Geoelements GNS

Impact and Accessibility

With the objective to benefit over 500 CIPs nationwide and train more than 300,000 users globally through CVW, Chishiki.ai is poised to make a significant impact. The project’s deliverables will be made available on NSF-funded platforms like DesignSafe and the Texas Advanced Computing Center, ensuring broad adoption of AI-enhanced CI innovations. We plan to fully fund and support graduate and undergraduate students through the project.


This NSF award represents not just a financial investment but a commitment to advancing the field of civil engineering with AI. It’s a testament to the NSF’s ongoing mission to support projects with high intellectual merit and broad impacts, further cementing Chishiki.ai’s role in transforming the landscape of civil and environmental engineering through AI integration.

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