15 takeaways from UF AI Days

UF’s recent AI Days  provided students, faculty and staff with immersive events dedicated to artificial intelligence. The two-day event highlighted how UF is building an AI university and included competitions designed to bring students’ ideas to life with more than $50,000 in prizes. Here are a few highlights from AI Days.

  • UF AI Days attracted 580 registrants to its competitions, poster sessions and panel discussions.
  • 28 teams registered for the AI Days Pitch Competition, sponsored by the UF Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center in the Warrington College of Business.
  • The student startup companies represented seven UF colleges, with 15 undergraduate team leaders and 13 graduate student team leaders.
  • Of the final four in the AI Pitch Competition, two teams were led by women.
  • First- through third-place winners were selected by the judges as having the best potential for growth and for attracting outside financing. First place received $12,000, second place received $8,000 and third place received $5,000.
  • The winning AI pitch was Fire Neural Network, FNN, led by Istvan Kereszy, a recent PhD graduate of UF’s physics program. The start-up uses AI to locate lightning-initiated wildfires, reducing the time it takes to detect fires from 24 hours to 40 seconds. FNN can locate ignition points within 40 meters instead of kilometers. You can find more information about all the finalists here.
Five men holding an oversized check for $12,000

The Fire Neural Network Group. 

  • A group of students and recent graduates from horticulture, computer science and business created FarmPal, a company that will use machine learning to give real-time recommendations to farmers for managing their farm operations.
  • The AI Days Hackathon gave teams of two to five students 24 hours to create a machine-learning project to combat social inequality.
  • The Hackathon attracted 236 registrants creating 20 projects and representing 42 academic departments.
  • Sydnee O’Donnell, a senior studying astrophysics, and Oscar Barrera, who is pursuing a PhD in astrophysics, were awarded first place for their project K-Boston Analytics, which identifies the best areas for locating resources to help disadvantaged neighborhoods.
  • Courtney Leu is one of 140 UF undergraduate students currently working toward a certificate in AI Fundamentals and Applications, which is intended for students of all majors to further their understanding of the fundamentals of AI and its applications to real-world problems. Meet Leu here
Two UF students holding oversized check for $10,000

Students Sydnee O’Donnell and Oscar Barrera were awarded first place in the AI Days Hackathon

  • During the AI in Health, Engineering and the Sciences panel, Dr. Azra Bihorac said the UF College of Medicine is developing AI learning modules geared toward beginners and advanced health practitioners. “The College of Medicine is investing a lot to provide literacy for everybody,” she said.
  • The panel also discussed a UF Health-designed AI system that uses data collected from patients’ vital signs to give doctors faster and more accurate insight into a patient’s prognosis.
Photo of stage with people speaking about AI at UF

The AI in Health, Engineering and the Sciences panel

  • Tina Tallon, an assistant professor of AI and the Arts: Music Composition in the College of the Arts, highlighted her research into gender disparities in training datasets for AI-powered voice technologies during the AI Days poster session.
  • Tallon, who studies algorithmic justice within voice technology, noted that the strength of UF’s AI initiative is its diversity: “Never before have I been part of a community of scientists, engineers, artists, and practitioners with such a diverse range of specializations. This is how we come together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems — we need everyone on board.”
Karen Dooley November 16, 2022