Learn how to start your AI journey at the virtual 'AI for Good Expo' on Sept. 28

September 22, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Start your journey with artificial intelligence (AI) at the virtual "AI for Good Expo" from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 28. Join teams who competed in past and present Nittany AI Challenges at Penn State, as well as specialists, employers and others who will share best practices in working with AI.

“We would not be where we are today without our strong relationship with the Nittany AI Alliance,” said Tanish Rastogi, computer science major in the College of Engineering, and Edward Amoah, master of science candidate in ecology in the College of Agricultural Sciences. They both started their AI journey by competing in the Nittany AI Challenge; their team created Nyansapo, an app designed to assist children in African countries with literacy skills. With it, they conducted a literacy bootcamp in Kenya and were awarded $10,000 as one of the winners of the 2020 Challenge.

“Nyansapo is a word that means ‘wisdom knot’ and it is our mission,” Rastogi said. "We believe that if we help a student build the proper foundational skills, that ‘strong knot’ of wisdom can carry them throughout their future education.”

During the AI for Good Expo, Rastogi and Amoah will share their experience in the challenge, more information about Nyansapo, and where the venture is and where they hope for it to go. Joining them will be students competing in the 2021 Nittany AI Challenge who will have the opportunity to present their minimum viable product (MVP) created during the year-long competition using AI for good in the areas of education, environment, health, and humanitarianism.

A panel of judges will announce the winning teams out of the following eight:

AIPR – Solution aimed to limit contamination by sorting materials using machine learning to make recycling more efficient and economical.

Briefly – Smart summarizer tool that extracts meaningful information from text, audio and video sources to aid students with online learning.

InsectEye – AI-based insect trap and identification system to assist entomologists in understanding insect biodiversity.

PsySpace – AI utilized through a mobile and web application to provide support that can ease short-term distress and identify mental health conditions in the absence of a health care professional.

Reconnect – AI to identify phone addiction by recognizing excess screen time, presenting users with an alternative, real-world activity to try in its place.

Table Rock Markets – An e-commerce platform designed to keep farms in business by increasing sales and profitability, while helping families eat healthy, locally grown food.

Apoio – Software designed for mental health professionals to provide diagnostics, treatment and to identify patients who may be hard to treat by aggregating initial self-reported data.

TwinnR – AI-driven solution to access data and better provide smart manufacturing solutions.

The winning teams will be awarded funds to further develop their solution from the remaining $25,000 pool.

The Apoio team was sponsored by IBM Watson and chosen to automatically advance to the MVP phase. Bill Higgins, director of Watson Core at IBM and keynote speaker for the AI for Good Expo, said IBM has been a long-time supporter of the Nittany AI Challenge providing Watson AI technology services for use in team projects and providing feedback to students.

Higgins said it’s important to remember that AI is ultimately a tool in the process.

“For a tool to be useful you have to understand for which problems it excels and where it is less appropriate. AI excels in situations where coding a set of rules by hand, which is really what traditional programming is, just can’t solve the problem,” Higgins said. “I also advise to invest in trustworthy AI. We, the designers of AI systems, end up coding our own values and ethics, but many people don’t think about this in an intentional way so they may encode harmful bias unintentionally through lack of care. We have an ethical obligation to our users and society to take care to design AI that’s trustworthy and be vigilant that it remains so.”

Register to attend the AI for Good Expo here.

The Nittany AI Challenge and AI for Good Expo are facilitated by the Nittany AI Alliance, a unit of Penn State Outreach.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 27, 2021