Pittsburgh, the birthplace of AI, is also an artificial intelligence smart city.

Photo Credit: Carnegie Mellon University


Pittsburgh: The Birthplace of AI

Pittsburgh is shaping the future of what’s next in AI: software, hardware, robotics, and machine learning. AI began in Pittsburgh, as Carnegie Mellon has been a leader in AI since the 1950s. Its esteemed faculty members, Herbert Simon and Allen Newell, invented the field of AI during their tenure. Today, the Pittsburgh area is a leader of artificial intelligence smart cities, developing new technologies and initiatives.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has numerous benefits from urbanization to creating sustainable cities to everyday life. However, AI is more than what is found on your smartphone. Since AI is essentially a collection of programmed algorithms, it can be applied across nearly every industry.

For example, one use case would be in the medical field, where AI can help to better manage healthcare systems. The use of AI might even allow for robotic assistance in surgery, as robots can exceed human accuracy on many different surgical tasks.

Artificial intelligence is also often used to sort through large amounts of “Big Data” in many industries, including real-world applications in the public sector. When AI is combined with IoT systems (Internet of Things), this can help urban areas and municipalities gain insights. These learnings of artificial intelligence smart cities could be what their citizens need, like tracking energy usage to improve the allocation of renewable energy sources. Or it can help commuters deal with less traffic congestion.

AI is a critical piece of smart city development. While Pittsburgh is known as the “Steel City”, it is also a smart city. What is a smart city? It’s an area that uses a variety of methods, including AI, for data collection. This data is in turn used for urban environment improvement and optimization.

Using historical and real-time data, artificial intelligence smart cities and their management systems can help to improve city initiatives like safety, sustainability, decision-making, and quality of life. The power of AI can improve nearly every aspect of a metropolis, including:

    • Access to public services
    • Climate change
    • Energy-efficiency
    • Public safety
    • Public transportation
    • Traffic management
    • Urban planning
    • Waste management

In the Pittsburgh region, we’re the home of top AI companies, talent, and graduates. We don’t just apply this research and innovation to our own stakeholders. These findings help to improve businesses, metro areas, and quality of life all over the world.


Mike Harding

Vice President, Business Investment

Phone: 412.281.4783 x3117 | m: 412.290.4082

“Pittsburgh is one of the core centers of talent right now for this industry.”

Photo Credit: TechCrunch



Pittsburgh is home to Carnegie Mellon University: the birthplace of AI

AlphaLab, a program of Innovation Works, gives startups the tools they need to launch quickly.
Photo Credit: Innovation Works


U.S. AI grad program


Annual computer & information science R&D. 3rd highest in the U.S.


AI undergrad program


AI grad degrees awarded by CMU in the past five years



Pittsburgh is home to a deep pool of tech talent
Photo Credit: Aurora


Universities & post-secondary CTE institutions


Growth of tech talent pool past 5 years


Computer support database and systems employees; average wage $65,333*


Tech degrees & certificates awarded annually


Software developers and programmers; average wage $88,282 USD*


Computer and information systems managers; average wage $143,720*

*Employee numbers and average wages in AI-related positions based on 2018 data.




AI-supporting accelerators & incubators


Unique regional startups attracted $3B in funding in 2019 (7x increase since 2010)


Robust support from accelerators, educational organizations & ecosystem leaders

Global Connections



Startup Genome logo

Startup Genome, a global leader in ecosystem research, spotlights the Pittsburgh startup ecosystem as part of its network of 280+ cities. Pittsburgh is named the #23 emerging ecosystem globally, with its robotics, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and cleantech industries highlighted.

Key Investments

Nov 2017 Petuum

150 New Jobs

70-person AI company raised $93M in Series B funding with plans to expand its team to 200 employees and build an internal sales and marketing team.

Nov 2017 Petuum

Feb 2018 Amazon

125 New Jobs

Opened tech office in 2017 and plans to expand their workforce to 100 employees with a focus on Alexa voice technology and machine learning.

Feb 2018 Amazon

May 2018 Facebook AI Lab

$15,000,000 Capital Investment

Two of Carnegie Mellon’s top AI + robotics researchers now lead Facebook’s newest AI lab in Pittsburgh on the university’s campus.

May 2018 Facebook AI Lab

Jun 2018 Bosch

20 New Jobs

Partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to launch the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) Research Lab. Plan to build a team of up to 20 AI experts and invest $8M+ in CMU research through 2023.

Jun 2018 Bosch

Nov 2018 Voci Technologies

50 New Jobs

Speech-to-text startup raised $8M in Series B funding, moved to an 11,000-square-foot facility in the Strip District and doubled its staff in 2019. Recently acquired for $59M by Medallia.

Nov 2018 Voci Technologies

Dec 2018 U.S. Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force

10 New Jobs

U.S. Army established its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force at Carnegie Mellon University; the task force consists of 20 people between Pittsburgh and D.C.

Dec 2018 U.S. Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force

Jan 2019 Ready AI

4 New Jobs

The first teacher-friendly K-12 AI education startup launched in Pittsburgh in 2019. Owned and operated by Andrew Chen and WholeRen, another Pittsburgh-based education company.

Jan 2019 Ready AI

Apr 2019 Fortive

6 New Jobs

Washington state-based industrial company set up an AI and data analytics center, also known as “The Fort,” in Pittsburgh after purchasing Industrial Scientific earlier in 2017.

Apr 2019 Fortive

Jun 2019 Edge Case Research


Lawrenceville-based Edge Case Research announces seed round of $7 million in investment funding towards an intelligent safety assessment platform for autonomous vehicle software that operates at the speed of modern machine learning development.

Jun 2019 Edge Case Research

Jan 2020 LegalSifter, Inc.


Pittsburgh-based legal service AI startup will double its office space to nearly 3,500 square feet by 2022 to accommodate its growing team.

Jan 2020 LegalSifter, Inc.


Innovation Works helps tech startups get off the ground quickly
Photo Credit: Innovation Works
Innovation Works

One of the most active early stage investors in the U.S. with startup support programs. It also has two nationally ranked accelerators – AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear – that help software and hardware startups get off the ground.

Pittsburgh Technology Council Logo
Pittsburgh Technology Council

Supports the region’s technology-based companies with business development, talent retention, government relations, and visibility services.

Pittsburgh Innovation District Logo

A public/private partnership focused on accelerating the status of Pittsburgh as a global innovation city and supporting the Innovation District of Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.

Pittsburgh Robotics Network logo
Pittsburgh Robotics Network

Founded in 2018 by robotics company leaders. Its mission is to accelerate robotics and AI adoption by bridging the Pittsburgh robotics community with the world.

AI Success

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center logo
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center

Joint Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh R&D Center

Received $5 million National Science Foundation grant in June 2020 to build Neocortex, a revolutionary AI supercomputer

Employees at Petuum work on machine learning technologies
Photo Credit: Perkins Eastman

Developer of a machine learning platform for companies to apply AI solutions across industries

Founded in 2016 and won $108 million in private equity funding within two years.

Facebook employees working at their new 150,000-SF building in Pittsburgh
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Magazine

Entered Pittsburgh in 2014 with acquisition of Oculus

Expanded into a 150,000-SF building in early 2020 to accommodate up to 500 employees.

SAP's new $72 million regional headquarters in Pittsburgh
Photo Credit: Continental Building Co.

Entered Pittsburgh in 2012 with acquisition of Ariba and Smart Ops

Moved into a new $72 million regional headquarters and nearly doubled its regional employment to 1,000

Downloads & Links

Pittsburgh Region: The Birthplace of AI PDF


Pittsburgh Region: AI Webinar on YouTube

AI Webinar on Youtube


Contact Us

Mike Harding
Vice President, Business Investment