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$12 million research center coming to Griffiss International Airport

By Eric Reinhardt


Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. on Monday announced the “open innovation campus” at Griffiss International Airport. It’s a partnership between Oneida County, the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (Rome Lab), the Griffiss Institute, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute to create a $12 million research center. The project will “help solve complex computing problems for the Air Force,” Picente said in a news release. (Photo provided by Oneida County).

ROME, N.Y. — Oneida County is partnering with Rome Lab, the Griffiss Institute, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute to create a $12 million research center at Griffiss International Airport.

Officials are referring to the research center as the “open innovation campus,” per a Monday news release.

“The Open Innovation Campus will provide a collaborative hub that will produce revolutionary research from those on the forefront of cutting-edge technology,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. said. “This transformative ecosystem will help solve complex computing problems for the Air Force and ultimately strengthen our national defense. Oneida County is proud to invest in this forward-thinking partnership with Rome Lab, Griffiss Institute and SUNY Poly that will establish us as a trailblazer in the emerging field of quantum information science and spur economic development around it.”

The campus will be housed in Building 100 at the Griffiss International Airport. The 40,000-square-foot, three-floor facility will be renovated to include two quantum labs and two neuromorphic/electronic labs, event space, and training and classrooms.

Oneida County is contributing $5.6 million toward the project, and Empire State Development and the New York State Department of Transportation Aviation Bureau are providing $1.4 million and $1.5 million respectively. Additional funding will also come from Griffiss Institute.

Construction is slated to begin this fall and expected to be completed in April 2020.

Project goal

The goal of the “open innovation campus” will be to connect global technology leaders — including Google, IBM, and QCWare — to “collaborate and solve intricate Air Force computing challenges,” per the release. It will link researchers from government, industry, and academia to share top minds, ideas, and facilities, “virtually and in person,” and expand upon the $2 billion annual federal investment in Rome Lab — the common local name for the AFRL, or the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate.

The campus’s collaborators will look to use quantum information processing to analyze and improve such things as computer hardware and software, data protection, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence.

“With our new open innovation campus we have set up an environment that will allow us to bring together the best and brightest minds in the world to work on some very difficult and exciting technical challenge problems,” Col. Timothy Lawrence, director of the AFRL Information Directorate, said in the Oneida County release. “We want to use this new infrastructure to grow a quantum information science and artificial intelligence hub for the Air Force, our partners and the region. This collaborative environment and business construct is one of tools we have decided to pursue that I think will aid our researchers in developing future transformational strategic capabilities for the nation’s defense.”

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