Theme 1: Center for Artificial Intelligence

Progress Updates

Build curricular and lab space capacity on the Aurora campus to support the growth and experimentation of artificial intelligence and its applications.

May 2024

Board Deep Dive

Members of the AI Theme team shared a Deep Dive Presentation on AI with the Board of Trustees on May 15, including narrowing our focus on four lanes where we believe IMSA can differentiate itself:

1. Curricular Connections: Develop and implement AI credential programs for both students and educators throughout the state, ensuring they have the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in   the field. Continue tinkering with AI in the classroom to improve student outcomes across disciplines.

2. Entrepreneurship: Help students identify and pursue opportunities to start businesses that disrupt traditional operations, customer service, and marketing practices, or help solve social problems around the world.

3. Research for Human Advancement: Encourage research that focuses on solving problems using AI that can advance the human condition, such as improving healthcare, addressing environmental challenges, and enhancing quality of life.Students are currently engaged in AI research in the fields of medicine (35%), R&D (17%), Language (14%), Business (9%), Computer Science (9%), Engineering (9%), Physics (4%), Security (4%).

4. Ethics: Promote ethical considerations in AI research and development, ensuring that the solutions developed advance the human condition and are mindful of potential societal impacts.

AI Center Prototyping Spaces – GRAND OPENING

On Wednesday, May 22, the IMSA Community celebrated the opening of Launch AI and Frontier Lab, two new AI Center prototyping spaces at a special grand opening event. Special thanks to Britta McKenna, our two AI student interns, Neev Patel and Rachel Tsang, Joyce Symoniak and members of the AI Theme team  for organizing and volunteering. Activities included:

  • Launch AI, A148
  • Hosted Activities, including AI Scavenger Hunt, AI Sticker Search, and AI Input for Sweet Feedback Stations
  • AI Collaborator Corner Spotlights
  • Frontier Lab, A145
  • AI Art Activity, facilitated by Joyce Symoniak

April 2024

The AI team will be presenting a Deep Dive presentation on Artificial Intelligence to the Board about their work this year at the May 15 regular meeting of the trustees.  The team will share what they’ve tried this year and a  vision for what the Center for Artificial Intelligence will achieve in the future. The IMSA AI Prototype Center will have its grand opening on Wednesday, May 22 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a variety of activities for the community. In addition, we are advertising part-time CS roles to support possibilities for joint or adjunct appointments that enhance our AI and/or outreach efforts.

March 2024

Launch AI, the pilot AI Center, opened April 3, 2024. We have re-posted the job opening for Director for the Center for Artificial Intelligence with an updated job description to attract candidates that better meet our needs. In addition, the AI team presented an overview of AI activities to the IMSA community on March 20, 2024, and the students ran a showcase of their AI projects on April 3,
2024.  AI team colleagues have been meeting with Google representatives on piloting Vertex.AI as a development solution for SPM grant recipients and students who are exploring AI projects. The first AI Book Club discussion was held on March 20 led by Eric Rettberg and Namrata Pandya.  Participants shared personal insights into who the mentors were in their life that encouraged them to pursue higher endeavors.

February 2024

Two prototyping spaces will open on April 3, 2024 helping to build a runway supporting the growth and experimentation of artificial intelligence. Room A-148 located near the Math Study Area will serve as a dedicated resource hub for piloting AI research, collaboration, computer science education, and programming.  Room A-145 will be operating as the AI Lab on I-Days. Here is an FAQ with more details. A grand opening is scheduled for May 22.

AI Bytes Lunch & Learn Playlist

 Britta McKenna and our two AI student interns, Neev Patel ’25 and Rachel Tsang ’25, have been designing and hosting workshops for the community to promote tinkering with AI. Here is the Playlist:

  • AI Bytes, Session III: “DIY AI” Held on November 15, 2023
  • AI Bytes, Session IV: “DIY AI 102: Personalization” Held on November 29, 2023
  • AI Bytes, Session V: “Neural Networks”           Taped on December 13, 2023
  • “Designing IMSA’s AI Center” Zoom: Recorded on January 12, 2024
  • AI Bytes, Session VI: AI Tools to Enrich Education 2” January 31, 2024

January 2024

We are currently advertising for an AI Lab Director who will lead future AI development related to student research and curricular connections.  In the meantime, the cross-disciplinary AI Theme Team continues to think, tinker and generate interest in AI among the community.

We have launched the AI curriculum pilot partnership (Flint.AI) with members of the theme team and even invited access to any faculty willing to test personalized learning, curriculum experimentation, research and development. In addition, an AI Community Book read will launch in February led by English Dr. Eric Rettberg and CS faculty Namrata Pandya which features a shared reading experience of The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI  by Fei-Fei Lee.  Discussions will be held once a month in March, April and May. The hope is to create excitement about the topic of AI and inspire individuals with all levels of AI experience to have meaningful conversations about AI ideas and exploration.

From a student research perspective, The Acronym recently profiled student AI projects that were funded through a Stephanie Pace Marshall Innovation Grant in Fall 2023.

December 2023

AI Intersessions

Britta McKenna will host two weeks of a “Designing IMSA’s AI Future” Intersession, including two cohorts of students.  Students will participate on one of three teams (Physical Space and People, Tech and Tools and Programs and Partners).  At the end of each week, teams will formulate and present draft recommendations for an IMSA Center for AI. The AI Theme Team will use these findings and, together with their own work, consider a recommendation to leadership for requirements for a Center for AI lab to meet the 2023-2024 strategic dashboard goal. Each week includes AI Center design sprints, research and study of AI opportunities for IMSA. The Week One Intersession will culminate in a trip to Argonne National Lab on January 11, 2024, to tour the Aurora Supercomputer, Data Center, Visualization Lab, and Rapid Prototyping Lab. The group will also hear an overview AI for Science at Argonne. Week Two will feature a Zoom call with Volodymyr (Vlad) Kindratenko, Director UIUC AI Center, and his team to learn about their AI Centers and relevant educational activity.

In addition, there are two other AI Intersessions being held:  Understanding Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Basics (Steve Goldblatt, Reah Shah, Aria Barve), and Teaching Your Computer to Play Games (Peter Dong).

AI Curriculum Pilot

We are exploring an AI curriculum pilot partnership with Flint.AI to test personalize learning across five academic disciplines, including science, humanities, computer science, fine arts and foreign language in addition to SIRs and entrepreneurship learning.  Included in the pilot is access to Chat GPT 4 and 50 programming languages for curriculum experimentation, research and development.   The following cohort of faculty are scheduled to participate:

  • SIR – Peter Dong + SIR Students
  • Science – Peter Dong + SI Physics Class.
  • English/Writing – Eric Rettberg and Michael Dean + Selective Classes
  • Computer Science – Namrata Pandya, Ashwin Mohan + CS Classes
  • Foreign Language – Marta Kaluza + Spanish Classes
  • Fine Arts – Joyce Symoniak + Art Classes
  • Entrepreneurship – Steve Goldblatt + IMSA.AI Student Group
  • AI Research & Protyping – Britta McKenna + Student Interns

We expect the pilot to launch in February 2024.

AI Spring Community Book Read (staff, faculty and students)

The AI Theme Team is planning to launch a shared reading experience where voluntary members of faculty, staff and students work will read The Worlds I See: Curiosity, Exploration, and Discovery at the Dawn of AI to create excitement about the topic of AI and inspire individuals with all levels of AI experience to have meaningful conversations about AI ideas and exploration.

November 2023

The AI Theme team is meeting monthly and making great strides in exploring pathways for AI at IMSA. Members of the team include Tami Armstrong, Britta McKenna, Rich Busby, Jessica Gnutek, Joyce Symoniak, Namrata Pandya, Peter Dong, Patrick Young, Steve Dutcher, Steve Goldblatt, Stephen Stewart, Ashwin Mohan, Chris Kornsey, Eric Rettberg Marta Kaluza, Phadmakar Patankar, and Meg Junk.

The team is working in three areas:
1. Impact of AI on Curriculum

  • Members of the team are infusing AI into curriculum across disciplines, including CS, fine art and Humanities classes
  • Academic Team Coordinators will look to recommend department level AI usage policies as a starting point for experimentation
  • Peer reviewed AI articles by staff/faculty are being gathered to share internally and externally
  • Students and faculty AI work will be shared and celebrated

2. AI Programs & Learning Resources

  • Working with an AI student interest group of 30 students developing simple, moderate and complex AI projects
  • Considering an AI software pilot that provides unlimited access to AI tools funded by an SPM Innovation Grant
  • Developing and delivering AI Bytes Lunch & Learn series for students

3. Requirements for a Center for AI

  • The Center for Artificial Intelligence promotes AI literacy, research, and education, providing lab space for learning/professional development opportunities that equip students, staff and faculty to thrive in a technology-focused future. The Center is designed to be a venue that encourages entry into AI curriculum to solve real-world challenges that advance the human condition regardless of research focus, academic area, or position. It enhances the ability of faculty to do work at the leading edge of AI and empowers an intellectual community that crosses disciplinary boundaries, schools, and beyond into the future of work and life.
  • Planning for two cohorts of 10 students and a handful of staff and faculty visiting the AI Center at Argonne and four Centers for AI at UIC each of the two weeks of Intersession January 8 and January 15. The group will be investigating the physical and technical assets as IMSA and making recommendations for IMSA’s Center for AI. Intersession trips are being coordinated, scheduled, and led by Britta
  • Considering several campus spaces for a temporary Center for AI with a recommendation planned for both a temporary and a permanent space in January after the Intersession visits.
  • Developing a job description, responsibilities, and qualifications for a lead Center for AI position
  • Evaluating current inventory of servers

Ready or not, AI is here. Check out the links on the sidebar menu for educator resources, student research projects, and lunch and learn videos.

October 2023

Student Research and Projects

  • Sreevardhan Atyam ’24 is a lead programmer for Joy, an AI-powered mental health and wellness app for high school and college students.
  • Sridhar Mehendale ‘25 is building an AI-based model to aid venture capitalist investment assessment prediction.
  • Einsteinia Socrates ‘24 is studying the impact of AI on business operations.
  • Riyan Jain ‘26 is developing a skin cancer detection app using AI-based picture recognition to check against known skin cancer databases under the mentorship of Dr. Patankar.
  • Shashi Salavath ’24 is developing a mental health app under the guidance of Steve Goldblatt.
  • Aaditya Shah ‘25 is working on a sign language translation app with support from Steve Goldblatt.
  • Anmol Singh ’25 is developing an aerocode coding platform under the guidance of Dr. Patankar.
  • Kavya Uppal ‘25 is studying Ai deep fake images with Dr. Patankar.
  • Shatakshi Chatterjee ’25 is using AI for biomedical engineering under the sponsorship of Desiree Klimek

Sampling of over 20 Off-Campus Research Projects Using AI

  • Anirudh Chari ’24 (Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University) is studying self-driving cars to influence human drivers’ behavior by leveraging robot-human interaction
  • Raghav Sinha ‘24 (SONIC Lab, Northwestern University) is recording interactions with humans and AI
  • Himani Musku ’25 (MIT Lincoln Lab) is analyzing text to create Machine Learning (ML) models that can classify the texts.
  • Shashi Salavath ‘24 (Northwestern Feinberg) is using large language models to study autoimmune event initiation in cancer patients.
  • Nathaniel Laud ‘25 (Argonne) is using AI to generate peptide sequences with high affinity for binding.
  • Michael Granger ’25 (MIT Lincoln Lab) is developing an AI model capable of detecting COVID disinformation online.