By now, most people who run small and midsize businesses know that they ought to take advantage of artificial intelligence to make their companies competitive in the digital age. But many don’t know how to go about it.

To meet this demand, Northeastern, which invested $50 million in a new artificial intelligence research institute last year, will lead a new Massachusetts program, AI Jump Start, to connect small business owners in the state with academic faculty experts to learn how machine learning can grow their companies.

The initiative is aimed at a broad range of small and midsize enterprises in defense, manufacturing, health, and other industries whose leaders would like to incorporate artificial intelligence but aren’t quite sure where to turn. It’s open also to companies that want to upgrade data-driven computing to glean new insights into customers, suppliers, and competitors.

Projects will be judged “by the potential for innovation, for creating jobs, and the impact it will have on Massachusetts,” says Tommaso Melodia, the William Lincoln Smith professor of electrical and computer engineering at Northeastern. His research is in wireless systems and the Internet of Things.

Melodia is one of several electrical and computer engineering professors at Northeastern serving as consultants and key members of the leadership team.


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