by Manny Rea
This spring, UF announced the creation of the Artificial Intelligence Academic Initiative Center led by David Reed, associate provost for strategic initiatives. The new center will be the campus focal point for academic activity related to AI and data science, including the coordination and development of programs and certificates, collaborations across faculty and students, organization of seminars and conferences, as well as industry and nonprofit partnerships.
This fall, the Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management launched two certificates for UF students focused on AI and data analytics. The certificates, one for graduate students and the other for undergraduate students, include a combination of coursework including AI Revolutions and Applications; Smart Cities, Attractions and Theme Parks; GIS and Spatial Analysis for Tourism and Social Data; and Data Mining with Social Data. Students will have the opportunity to gain specialized knowledge and practice in artificial intelligence trends, analytic skills, machine learning concepts, technology applications, opportunities, and challenges
The Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology (APK) has infused AI into their master’s degree curriculum, teaching its graduate students how to make predictions using large datasets. The datasets they’re using? Answer: Major League Baseball pitching statistics. By loading the datasets into HiPerGator, the most powerful university-owned supercomputer in the U.S., students can enter details of a pitch, like velocity or release spin rate, to make a determination of the pitch’s likely outcome. The question they are seeking to solve is, “what makes an ideal pitcher?” Students completing this coursework have gone on to work for professional cycling teams, college athletic programs and the NFL in the areas of sport sciences.
In addition, a three-week AI workshop series for graduate students was funded by an institutional training grant (T32) managed by David Vaillancourt, Ph.D., chair and professor in APK, and Dawn Bowers, Ph.D., professor in the College of Public Health & Health Professions. The summer workshop invited graduate students in biomedical engineering, neurosciences, clinical psychology, and applied physiology and kinesiology to learn more about the fundamentals and applications of AI and machine learning.
When the AI initiative kicked off in 2020, it included a commitment from UF to hire 100 more faculty across disciplines who weave AI into their teaching and research. This hiring added an additional two faculty members to the college, as well as multiple new faculty that also include AI expertise. Stay tuned in future editions to learn about their research and teaching.
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