The best global institutes for AI research

The university recently collaborated with JPMorgan, introducing the Maker Space, a platform for students to collaborate, foster and develop AI technology that tackles the world’s toughest problems.

Did you know the perceptron, the first neural network stimulating the thought processes of the human brain, was actually created at a university? A major factor deciding the leading universities today is their research inclination. Universities supporting research not only strengthen the students with the academic knowledge but also enable them to apply their learnings to innovate.

In AI, such universities are cutting edge because they encourage deep analysis, scholarly investigation and research to develop the industry. These help shape the leaders of tomorrow. Analytics India Magazine has picked out the top institutes for AI research in India and globally. 

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Stanford University

Standford University ranks #2 on Nature’s Index for top academic institutions in AI. Along with AI research-based programmes, Stanford is also known for The Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL), founded in 1962. The mission of the lab is to advance knowledge and foster learning. SAIL is known for its world-class faculty, research and industry-business-academia partnerships. The lab has and continues to work with big companies to conduct research and explore leading AI applications. One of the recent projects includes collaborating with Toyota Research to develop a technique for robots to better grasp complex items with moving parts. The team is also always working on new AI research projects, such as computer vision for open surgery or MetaMorph model that can replicate the success of large scale pre-training and task-specific fine-tuning for robotics. 

Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is frequently heard of in the AI research community, owing to its full spectrum of AI research and development ecosystem. CMU’s website claims to have a restricted research centre for Robotics and a classified research centre for Software Engineering. CMU’s research leads in upcoming AI concepts of self-driving cars, speech recognition, advanced sensor design, facial recognition software, and more – with a heavy focus on ethics. Through government-academia-industry collaborations, CMU has worked on several projects, including five interactive maps to display real-time information on COVID-19 symptoms and leveraging rich information from unlabelled data to assess a model’s performance without labels.

The university recently collaborated with JPMorgan, introducing the Maker Space, a platform for students to collaborate, foster and develop AI technology that tackles the world’s toughest problems. 


If one were to look up MIT and AI research online, you would be bombarded with arrays of suggestions on ‘MIT researchers develop..’. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is known for its MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), founded in 2003, and has since led university AI research. The lab has housed some of the top researchers and won several awards, including the Turing Award, the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize, the Grace Murray Hopper Award and more; and mentored leaders that have gone ahead to create notable innovations, including the Logo programming language, ELIZA computer-simulated therapist and even be the chief protocol architect for the Internet. 

University of California Berkeley

UC Berkeley is consistently ranked among the five top research universities globally with an AI research unit, Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Centre (BAIR). The lab includes UC Berkeley researchers across computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing, planning, control, and robotics. The BAIR blog is the one-stop repository for Berkely’s research. 

Cornell University

In 1957, Frank Rosenblatt, a professor at Cornell, invented the perceptron, and in 1962, Cornell was involved in unmanned missions to Mars. Today, the university is ranked fourth in the world for research in engineering. Cornell’s research is conducted in several areas such as robotics, NLP, vision, machine learning, games, and interdisciplinary topics related to AI. 

Vellore Insititute of Technology

The school of computer science at Vellore Insititute of Technology has more than 1500 publications under its belt, the first research being conducted in 1996. The school aims to further apply research in computer science and offers Ph D courses. Analytics India Magazine recently covered research by VIT dean, Dr Matthew Mithra Noel, and his team of VIT students and alumni that worked on the prevalent XOR problem and found a solution in their paper titled, ‘Biologically Inspired Oscillating Activation Functions Can Bridge the Performance Gap between Biological and Artificial Neurons’.

Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

Dr Pushpak Bhattacharya is one of India’s pioneering scientists and researchers, is the Chair Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay, has guided over three hundred students in their research and has worked extensively with IIT Bombay research lab, Center for Indian Language Technology (CFILT). The department offers Ph D programmes in computer science and is one of the most well known for its AI research. The latest researches include ‘Breaking the trial-and-error loop in Material Design through Machine Learning’ and ‘Computational techniques to measure small amounts of soot’. 

Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

IIT-D is among the top five IITs and regularly introduces initiatives to support and encourage AI research in India. In 2020, the university opened the School of Artificial Intelligence (ScAI) centre for Ph D programmes to multiply research productivity. In 2020, during the wake of COVID-19 spread in the nation, IIT-D invited proposals from the government, private academic institutions and private companies to use its supercomputer resource PADUM for COVID-19 research. IIT-D also houses a research group, Data Analytics & Intelligence Research, to build AI applications for India.

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

Just in the past two years, IIT-M has developed Ai4Bharat, an NLP model to process eleven regional languages, used RNN to study the reactions that occur during the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into energy-dense syngas, and IIT Madras-incubated marine robotics company Planys Technologies has raised $1.6 million in pre-series A funding, among other achievements. The Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC-DSAI) was introduced in August 2017 to further AI research. The research applications focus on addressing Indian issues and leveraging AI for local, vernacular, healthcare and agricultural problems.

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Avi Gopani
Avi Gopani is a technology journalist that seeks to analyse industry trends and developments from an interdisciplinary perspective at Analytics India Magazine. Her articles chronicle cultural, political and social stories that are curated with a focus on the evolving technologies of artificial intelligence and data analytics.

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