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The University of South Florida said Thursday it is launching a college focused on artificial intelligence (AI).

The College of Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and Computing, opening in the fall of 2025, would be the first AI-centered college within a university in Florida, said Prasant Mohapatra, provost and president of academic affairs for University of South Florida.

“This is the right time; either we do it now or, 10 years from now, we chase after other entities who have done it,” Mohapatra told Inside Higher Ed.

AI colleges within universities are rare, although institutions across the nation have increasingly begun offering degrees in artificial intelligence. Others have made sweeping, system-wide commitments to the technology, such as University at Albany’s “AI plus initiative.”

Mohapatra hopes the new college will boost Florida’s standing in the AI race.

“This will help Florida catch up to the top level in meeting the ongoing demand in AI areas,” he said. “We will collaborate with Florida universities. There definitely is some good work going on but we also want to extend collaborations with universities outside of Florida through federal agency grants.”

USF plans to create a physical home for the college, but in the interim it will be nestled within the computer science programming department. The university plans to spend a “significant” amount on hiring new faculty, with an initial focus on 15 to 20 professors.

There are several initiatives across Florida universities focused on boosting AI, including the University of Florida’s Artificial Intelligence Academic Initiative Center, which launched in March 2022. There are also AI centers across two Miami Dade College campuses and artificial intelligence labs at the University of Central Florida and University of North Florida.