Nittany AI Challenge Ideation Workshop set for Nov. 30

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State students, faculty and staff looking to make an impact in agriculture and environmental sustainability are invited to come together to explore innovative ideas during the Nittany AI Challenge Ideation Workshop: Agriculture and Environmental Sustainability on Nov. 30.

The interactive workshop will connect students with experts and local nonprofit leaders in agricultural and environmental sustainability to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can be used to address real-world problems in the field. The goal is to provide student teams with ideas to enter into the 2024 Nittany AI Challenge.

The Nittany AI Alliance event will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Barron Innovation Hub in downtown State College and is co-sponsored by Penn State Sustainability, the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and PepsiCo Inc. Food will be served. Registration is available here.

“The worlds of sustainability and AI are coming together in ways that we might not all understand,” said Lara Fowler, chief sustainability officer and director of Penn State Sustainability. “This workshop offers a good chance to explore both topics and think creatively on how to work together to find solutions to some of our world’s most challenging questions.”

The workshop is one of many Nittany AI Alliance events leading up to the 2024 Nittany AI Challenge. The challenge is open to all Penn State undergraduate and graduate students, providing them an opportunity to address pressing global issues and build solutions using AI and machine learning, regardless of technical skill or expertise.

“This is an opportunity to inspire students to explore the practical application of AI to address these challenges in new and innovative ways,” said Daren Coudriet, executive director of innovation for Penn State Outreach and the Nittany AI Alliance. “It is our hope that student teams will come away with ideas to enter the Nittany AI Challenge, with faculty mentors to help guide them in this first phase of the innovation cycle.”  

Christina Grozinger, Publius Vergilius Maro Professor of Entomology at Penn State, said, “One of Penn State’s great strengths is our ability to work across disciplines to develop truly innovative solutions to emerging challenges in agriculture, natural resource management and sustainability science. The Nittany AI Challenge provides an outstanding opportunity for student and faculty teams from across the university to come together and start to develop these solutions.”

Grozinger cited 2021 Nittany AI Challenge winner, InsectEye, as an example.

“This concept fueled a long-term partnership of faculty from the College of Agricultural Sciences, College of Engineering, and College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, which led to a new graduate education program at Penn State, funded by the National Science Foundation. The program is designed to train students to work in cross disciplinary teams, in partnership with stakeholders, to develop systems for monitoring and managing insect populations in cities, farms and nature preserves,” Grozinger said.

Student teams have until noon on Jan. 24 to submit a prototype submission in the 2024 Nittany AI Challenge. More information is available here.

The Nittany AI Alliance is a service of Penn State Outreach.

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