UWM to house nation’s first Microsoft AI lab focused on manufacturing

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Anisha Tasnim, doctoral student, computer science, talked with TMJ4 News about working in UWM's Connected Systems Institute.

A flurry of media accompanied the announcement on May 8 that Microsoft will build the nation’s first manufacturing-focused AI Co-Innovation Lab at UWM’s Connected Systems Institute.

The lab will give students hands-on learning with artificial intelligence and connect them to Wisconsin manufacturers and Microsoft AI experts. There are only six of these labs in the entire world. This will be the first one on a college campus.

Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, made the announcement at a news conference at the company’s data center complex in Racine County that featured remarks from President Joe Biden and Gov. Tony Evers.

Corporate leadership at Microsoft has strong Wisconsin ties. Smith was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Appleton. Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella is an alum of the College of Engineering & Applied Science (’90 MS computer science).

The lab is part of Microsoft’s $3.3 billion investment in southeast Wisconsin.

“There’s not so many schools that get the opportunity to work with Microsoft and we are one of them,” Anisha Tasnim, a PhD student in computer science, told TMJ4 News. “It’s so amazing and we will be able to work with them very closely when the project starts.”

Kevin Klocko, a senior in industrial engineering was also quoted in the TMJ4 report. Undergraduate biomedical engineering student Abhiroop Reddy Tokala was quoted in the Fox 6 report.

The CSI is a UWM-industry partnership with a mini-factory production line on campus that trains UWM students and workers in manufacturing in new digital technologies, including those that use AI. The institute also serves as a research hub where academics and industry can work together on optimizing automation.

Media coverage includes:

PBS NewsHour

Wall Street Journal


Inc. Magazine

WLUK-TV (Green Bay)

Fox 6, WITI News

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

TMJ4 News

Milwaukee Business Journal

The Verge

Wisconsin Public Radio May 8

Wisconsin Public Radio May 30

Wisconsin Public Radio interview with Joe Hammes, May 30



Daily Reporter