More than 300 people gathered in the Rackham Graduate School Monday to attend the University of Michigan’s annual Data Science and AI 2023 Summit, organized by the Michigan Institute for Data Science. The summit, which took place from Nov. 13 to 14, highlighted the strides made in artificial intelligence and data science research fields over the past year and featured a variety of keynote speakers, research talks and poster presentations.
Since 2015, the annual summit has been one of the largest data science and AI events on campus. This year, attendees had the opportunity to hear from tech experts from around the country, including Suresh Venkatasubramanian, director for the Center for Technological, Responsibility, and Redesign at Brown University, and Julianne Dalcanton, director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute.
The presenters discussed various applications for AI, including eco-friendly technology, evolutionary biology, astronomy, academics and digital media. The summit spanned across Rackham’s East and West Conference Halls to give students the opportunity to choose the topics that interested them most and to discuss those concepts with the data scientists and AI research experts who were invited to present their research at the summit.
In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Jen Lewis, program manager for the post-doctoral programs at the Institute for Data Science, said she saw the summit’s poster sessions as an invaluable opportunity for students and researchers to connect with one another and for everyone to come together to learn more about the data science and AI.
“I think it’s helpful for attendees to learn more, but I think it’s also a really valuable opportunity for students and early career researchers to collaborate and network with other people on campus and external participants who come in,” Lewis said. “The poster session really gives them a different avenue to introduce their research to other people and so it gives them the opportunity to have more of a one-on-one conversation with others.”
Throughout the summit, research talks were presented in three different sessions, which touched on the applications of data science and AI for addressing societal, environmental and technological issues.
In an interview with The Daily at the summit, Jing Liu, executive director of the Michigan Institute for Data Science and program committee member, said the event was intended to help increase awareness of current AI research in an increasingly digital world.
“(The summit is) to see what kind of exciting current research is happening and let them see what our future possibilities are,” Liu said. “(We need) to make sure the technology that you adopt and the way you adopt it is actually responsible, ethical, and serves society in a positive way.”
LSA senior Shruti Swaminathan, a volunteer for the summit, told The Daily in an interview she feels the event is important for making AI research more accessible to those who may be intimidated by the topic. She sees the annual summit as a step in the right direction to connect those interested in data science and AI with each other.
“AI can be a daunting field for people to want to get involved with because it’s such a vast field,” Swaminathan said. “I think events like this do a good job of breaking apart topics that are harder to understand. I also think it helps you meet people who are interested in the same things as you, which I think can be great, especially for anyone in tech.”
Swaminathan said she hopes to see more tech-focused research events at the University so more students can attend and learn more about data science and AI.
“It’d be definitely helpful to have more events with a higher frequency throughout the years,” Swaminathan said.“This is an all day event, so it’s harder for students with class to attend the talks that they want to attend due to lecture schedules. I think it would be helpful if there were frequent events hosted, so that there would be more opportunities for students to join and listen to these talks. I think they’re a really valuable opportunity for students.” Daily News Contributors Claudia Minetti and Erin Siver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.