CPP AI fair crowns winners and creates connections

By Damariz Arevalo and Scotty Ninh, April 23, 2024

Cal Poly Pomona Artificial Intelligence Fair was taken place on April 17, and it encouraged students and faculty to be more open on using AI for academic success.

CPP hosted an AI Fair, which included panels from students, faculty and professionals. The event also included hackathon finalists who had their work judged by industry professionals, vendors and hands-on displays such as Data Science AI Club, Women in Tech, Microsoft, Avanade and many others to show what AI-influenced projects and other tools AI is used for.

AI is currently being used in computer science, math or science majors. The fair is a step to push AI for all majors and to eventually offer AI classes to all students.

“I think it is important for AI to be inclusive for everybody to really get a good understanding, what the possibility for getting AI literacy class that is not exclusive to one program,” said Joey Cindass, computer science student and Data Science AI Club member.

Within one of the panels, Karam Tascoe, a senior modern work specialist for Microsoft, spoke about Microsoft’s co-pilot, an AI tool intergraded to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Microsoft applications.

“AI (is used) in large language models to provide tools for any students to ask prompts and to receive responses to those prompts for almost any task,” said Tascoe.

One of the discussions during the AI panel was about ChatGPT and using AI in the classroom. Not all professors are lenient toward allowing students to use it and other professors are for it.

ChatGPT is a language-based algorithm. AI can be seen as cheating or plagiarizing, but there are professors who defend AI helps students enhance their academic skills.

“If there is a tool out there that can help our students, it is the professor’s job to teach our students how to use it in the most efficient and ethical way,” said Zahra Sotoudeh, An assistant professor of aerospace engineering and one of the panelists.

Some professors acknowledge the inevitability of cheating, emphasizing the persistent challenge it poses. Nonetheless, they underscored that AI isn’t meant to hinder learning outcomes.

“Cheaters are going to cheat; you can’t stop that no matter what,” said Brett T. Riley, a learning consultant for Pearson. “We’re taking in the aspect of using it as a tool to help critically think and not give them the answer but help bring that knowledge to identify ,so that they can get the answer themselves or work through that problem.”

The reception students gave at the AI fair was positive. Many found interest and inspiration in the projects student organizations and industry professionals  showed off in their panels.

“I’ve been having a lot of fun seeing a lot of interdisciplinary work where people are applying AI to certain aspects like cyber security,” said Andrew Gravino, computer science and computer information systems student. “Some people are applying it to civil engineering and then aviary work with planes.  Just the level of creativity that people are implementing AI is astounding over here.”

The AI fair showcased the finalists’ presentations from the AI Hackathon, where competitors presented their ideas to a panel of industry professionals.

Team Prenatal Co-Pilots was named the winner of the competition at the end of the fair. The team consisted of Huei-Syuan Gan, a student in science and digital supply chain management, Roxane Rasolomanana, Kanwardeep Singh and Adib Golestan, students in science and business analytics.

With their victory, the winners were rewarded with several goodies, including Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headsets.

AI is becoming a useful tool to all students from different majors. CPP staff and faculty are encouraging everyone to learn more about the nuances of AI and the difference people can make with it.

Feature image courtesy of Damariz Arevalo and Scotty Ninh

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