Vision Statement

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming almost every aspect of human life. Given the strategic importance of this technology, many countries including the United States have declared national initiatives to promote and protect AI technology and innovation. Multiple federal agencies, foundations, and industry consortiums have announced major investments to enhance AI technology. The Center for Foundational and Applied Artificial Intelligence (CAFE) will serve as the foci for advancing research, education, and outreach efforts in AI at Penn State.

While AI is already pervasive in many application domains, the field of AI is still in its infancy and requires significant investment for more ubiquitous application. CAFE will advance fundamental algorithms and theory of machine intelligence along with synergistic innovations in hardware and software systems for AI. These advances will result in the design of trustworthy machine learning systems, brain-inspired artificial machines that reduce energy consumption by a 1000x, machines that collaborate seamlessly with humans in complex tasks, and systems that continuously learn and adapt to the environment.

CAFE will integrate these advances in the context of a variety of engineering systems that span intelligent manufacturing, smart buildings, defense needs, precision agriculture, automated transportation systems, materials and drug discovery, health and medical innovations, and media and information systems. By providing an integrated forum to promote interactions between researchers who develop and use AI technology, CAFE will develop a holistic environment for accelerated discovery and innovation to solve challenging problems. CAFE will be engaged in developing programs that help the exchange of ideas and develop innovations that require crosscutting expertise.

CAFE will build upon foundations of highly visible externally funded AI programs that have resulted in new approaches to guarantee security and privacy in AI systems, brain-inspired hardware systems that operate at a fraction of the power of contemporary systems, and new algorithms that embed intelligence in tiny, self-powered devices. CAFE will also build on AI-driven innovations from CAFE members who design vision systems that guide people who are visually impaired, use remote sensing archeology for understanding human evolution, design new materials to enable disease discovery, enable predictive maintenance of machinery, and create safe environments for construction workers.

The center, through industry and government partnerships, aims to have broad societal impact and provide significant momentum to regional economy. CAFE will also facilitate the development of cross-disciplinary courses and K-12 outreach efforts aimed at developing a diverse next generation workforce.



The Center for Artificial Intelligence Foundations and Engineered Systems (CAFE), pronounced café, brings together expertise from 75 researchers representing 24 academic units across Penn State with the goal of developing cross-disciplinary interactions. The center’s focus is on accelerating advances by synergistically advancing AI foundations and the techniques to deploy them efficiently toward applications focused on engineered and defense systems. CAFE provides opportunities for research partnerships, faculty/student recruitment, and technology transition to practice.

Center for Artificial Intelligence Foundations and Engineered Systems

The Pennsylvania State University

W323 Westgate Building

University Park, PA 16802