Four student teams use AI for good to win 2020 Nittany AI Challenge

September 29, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nyansapo, OpenVessel, AI Guide and Cyclone are the winners of the 2020 Nittany AI Challenge. Each of the student teams created a minimum viable product (MVP) using artificial intelligence (AI) for good and were selected by a panel of judges to share a pool of $25,000 to continue to move their solutions forward. The winners were announced during the Nittany AI Challenge virtual celebration event on Sept. 25. The Nittany AI Challenge is a program facilitated by the Nittany AI Alliance, a Penn State Outreach service.

Brad Zdenek, innovation strategist for the Nittany AI Alliance, advises teams as they navigate through the three phases of the challenge.

“For the past eight months, the Nittany AI Challenge teams have been proving each day that they are among the best and brightest students at Penn State,” Zdenek said. “This year, with our focus on AI for good, we also had an opportunity to learn what happens when those individuals focus their energies on improving the world. What we saw were nine innovative and inspiring MVPs focused on improving the world. It continues to be an honor to support them in their endeavors.”

The four winning teams were chosen out of nine remaining teams that were selected to build an MVP for the final phase of the challenge and spent the past six months competing virtually from all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They stayed connected online as they worked out the final details of a solution that uses AI for good to address problems within the areas of education, health, humanitarian challenges, sustainability and climate change. Students from the winning teams represent the College of Engineering, Smeal College of Business, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of the Liberal Arts, College of Information Sciences and Technology, Division of Undergraduate Studies and Eberly College of Science at Penn State.

Nyansapo was awarded $10,000 to continue to develop their app that is designed to increase literacy rates in African countries. The team has already put the app to use during a 10-day literacy bootcamp in Kenya. The team members include Edward Amoah, Rhea Baweja, Ritik Parmar, Tanish Rastogi, Benson Wainaina, Jason Wang and Kushagra Jaiswal.

OpenVessel was awarded $5,000 to continue to move their solution forward for a 3D vascular network built to detect tumors and advance artificial tissue growth. The team members include Gregory Glatzer, Harsh Gupta, Eric Liu, Rishyak Panchal, Shubang Sharma, Leslie Wubbel, Brittnie Yi, Angela Paul, Yanki Saplan, Muhsin Wahi-Anwar and Jordan Willard.

The team that built AI Guide was awarded $5,000 for their solution that assists the visually impaired to navigate indoors and find objects. The team members include Gregory Costeas and Nelson Troncoso.

Cyclone was awarded $5,000 to continue the development of smart technology to reduce large-scale energy waste in buildings. The team members include Mike Allan, Kshitij Dawar, Soumitra Mehrotra, Dominic Ugoletti and Sean Vaez.

Sponsors for the Nittany AI Challenge include Microsoft, Leidos, Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, IBM Watson, Gro Intelligence, Maxar Technologies, Penn State Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainability Institute at Penn State, Penn State Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, Penn State IT, and Penn State University Libraries.

Preparations for the 2021 Nittany AI Challenge are already underway. Students can learn how to form a team and faculty can learn how to mentor a team by visiting the Nittany AI Alliance website.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 08, 2020