AI & Digital Transformations

Language processing, computer vision, machine learning, conversational AI and more.

Empowered by some of the world’s best in computer science and electrical and computer engineering, The Grainger College of Engineering is continuing our decades-long legacy of breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.

Our efforts in AI research and applications are accelerating dramatically. With nearly $270 million in funding for AI projects and initiatives since 2019, a top-five ranked AI program and countless experts, personnel and facilities dedicated to the growth of AI research and industry, Grainger Engineering is focused on digital transformations in agriculture, education, healthcare and more. 


Grainger Engineers are leading the way in artificial intelligence and digital transformations. Check out these recent highlights and headlines.

Centers and Initiatives

Led by Grainger engineer Huimin Zhao, the Molecule Maker Lab is an interdisciplinary initiative with leaders in AI and organic synthesis intensively collaborating to create frontier AI tools, dynamic open-access databases, and fast and broadly accessible small molecule manufacturing and discovery platforms. Advanced AI and machine learning (ML) methods enable the MMLI to achieve AI-enabled synthesis planning, catalyst development, molecule manufacturing, and molecule discovery.

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AICE aims “to advance conversational AI to the next level” by funding projects proposed by teams of UIUC faculty collaborating with Amazon scientists, with a focus on making conversational AI far more knowledgeable, creating a conversational AI system that users can interact with in a more richly multimodal fashion, making systems more fair and transparent.

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AIFARMS brings together researchers in artificial intelligence and agriculture, combining their expertise to promote advances in agriculture through AI. Their mission is to use core AI research areas such as computer vision, machine learning, data science, soft object manipulation and intuitive human-robot interaction, to address major challenges in agriculture.

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The DTI is a research consortium dedicated to accelerating the benefits of artificial intelligence for business, government, and society. The Institute engages the world’s leading scientists to conduct research and train practitioners in the Science of Digital Transformation, which operates at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, internet of things, big data analytics, organizational behavior, public policy and ethics.

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The IBM-Illinois Discovery Accelerator Institute (IIADI) is a new model of academic- industry partnership designed to increase access to technology education and skill development to spur breakthroughs in emerging areas of technology including hybrid cloud and AI, quantum computing, accelerated materials discovery, and sustainability to accelerate the discovery of solutions to complex global challenges.

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The INVITE Institute’s intent is to improve students’ achievements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The team aims to train students in the foundational “noncognitive” skills they must have to succeed at learning, and will use AI technologies to promote underlying noncognitive skills is novel ways.

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The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Grainger College of Engineering received a $12.5 million gift to establish a center that blends computing and medicine to combat chronic disease and improve wellness. The Srinivasulu AI for Wellness Center, named in honor of Vardhan’s father, will focus on harnessing artificial intelligence to cure metabolic diseases, specifically diabetes.

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“At Illinois we are very large, so we can actually cover the whole spectrum, from theoretical foundations to applications; I don’t know of any other place that does [AI] as well as we do.”


Nancy Amato
Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering Department Head, Computer Science

The Grainger College of Engineering

Education and Training

Students and professionals seeking to specialize in artificial intelligence and digital transformations have a wealth of opportunities to choose from, including courses, certificates and faculty labs.

AI Hackathon

The Center for Artificial Intelligence Innovation at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) offers regular hackathons for students, faculty and staff to showcase their skills. These two-day, intensive experiences allow teams to tackle challenges in academia and industry that involve deep learning.

Spring 2024 Ashby Prize in Computational Science Hackathon & past events »

AI in Medicine Certificate

Offered and designed through an interdisciplinary partnership between the department of bioengineering at The Grainger College of Engineering, the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, the AI in Medicine Certificate will equip healthcare professionals with a foundational understanding of AI and its applications through real-world medical case studies using machine learning models. This self-paced online course will help prepare physicians, physician assistants, medical students, nurse practitioners and veterinarians to lead in the era of digital medicine.

Learn more and enroll today »

BS Degree in Computer Science + Linguistics

The CS + Linguistics blended bachelor's degree is a partnership between The Grainger College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Learn about advances in AI that enable computers to have human-like behavior and understand spoken or written language, and design user-friendly computer programs and interfaces using natural language communication.

Degree requirements, FAQs and more »

Center for Digital Agriculture: Short Course & Hackathon

Increase competency in solving agricultural issues with artificial intelligence and computer vision during this week-long, virtual course designed for graduate students with limited experience in machine learning. During the last two days, participants will be challenged in a Hackathon. 

Registration and schedule »

Electrical and Computer Engineering: AI, Robotics and Cybernetics Subdiscipline

Interested in creating algorithms capable of learning, generalizing, communicating, planning and extrapolating? Learn about computer vision, natural language, machine learning and interfaces and prepare for a career in the growing market of intelligent devices and robotics.

ECE courses in this subdiscipline »

MS and MCS Degree in Computer Science

The research-oriented Master of Science (MS) and the professional Master of Computer Science (MCS) offer eleven core areas including artificial intelligence. Computer Science juniors may also obtain a MS or MCS through the Fifth Year Master's program (coursework only) with only two additional semesters. 

Program information and AI courses »