BUFFALO, N.Y. — Gov. Kathy Hochul continued to promote a plan she announced during her State of the State address to make New York the first state in the nation to bring together top academic institutions, the government, private sector and philanthropies to focus on the artificial intelligence industry.

"It is going to be the single most consequential technological and commercial advancement since the invention of the internet," Hochul said at a Friday event in Western New York.

But the state needs a center for the massive computing power necessary to make the Empire AI Consortium a reality. Friday, she officially announced her pick for that hub.

"I need a home for this supercomputer that will power the innovation all over New York state and I'm proud to announce that the home will be right here at SUNY Buffalo," Hochul said. 

University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi believes the governor is making a wise choice. On top of things like the availability of hydroelectric power for the supercomputer, he said UB already boasts a robust AI program where students and faculty are working on advancements.

"We have got the scientists here," Tripathi said. "About 200 of our faculty are doing some kind of AI from very fundamental AI to applications to medicine to thinking about fake news."

Hochul said, since her initial announcement earlier this month, the state has already secured $125 million in commitments from private partners. The SUNY system will kick in $25 million and another $250 million will come from the state coffers provided the state Legislature includes it in its budget.

"The supercomputer is really expensive, which is why everyone's paying attention,” she said. “I'm getting calls from California and other places. They wish their governors were doing this. That's what I'm hearing. They wish their governors were that vested into seizing this opportunity because whoever goes first is going to win the race.” 

Tripathi said UB has lots of planning to do to prepare. The supercomputer will require a specialized building, which he says could be new or a current one may be retrofitted.

The funding for that part of the project isn't clear at this point.

"We're going to start working as soon as we can. Once we go to the office now we'll start to think about it," he said.

Hochul believes Buffalo and New York state as a whole are positioned to become the next Silicon Valley that will attract great minds and innovative tech companies. She said it's already working, simultaneously announcing Friday Tesla is investing $500 million to build its next supercomputer in Buffalo, too. 

"This is new territory but that cannot be the reputation of AI,” Hochul said. “We're using it as a catalyst for jobs and innovation and to solve society's biggest problems.”

Partners said Empire AI will focus not only on developing the technology but also the seemingly limitless potential applications to improve people's lives.