Day 3: Machine Learning Lecture, Sustainable AI, Navigating STEM Fields, Science Presentation Tips, and Alexa Meade

We had a really full line up today! We began with a lecture from Eugene reviewing the searching algorithms from yesterday, and new material introducing Machine Learning. After some discourse on Dijkstra’s Algorithm, we dove right into an introduction to machine learning.

Eugene starts his lecture on Machine Learning to an engaged audience

We learned about the two central concepts of Machine Learning: Features (input) and Labels (output), and the two “types” of learning: Regression (predict output value, outputs continuous value) and Classification (group examples into classes, outputs discrete values). We played around with an online visual demo about machine learning.

In today’s lecture, we had a broad overview, and we will learn more about the nitty-gritty details in a later lecture.

Next we heard from Stanford Assistant Professor Stefano Ermon about his work in sustainable AI. Inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, his work centers around harnessing the power of AI to uncover the “hidden poor” of the world.

With image processing technology, paired with satellite images from various organizations, Dr. Ermon’s project can very accurately predict the per capita daily consumption in different areas. We were really impressed at how the AI was able to sketch out the outlines of the continents on its own when performing predictions.

Today, Dr. Ermon’s work is part of a new startup called Atlas AI, whose services have helped global organization such as World Bank and United Nations, and has caught the attention of Bill Gates. His success in the field and all the positive implications of his research were very exciting to hear about!

After lunch, we heard from Dr. Telle Whitney, former CEO of the Anita Borg Institute. She started out her career relatively uninterested in academia, but after her first brush with computing, fell in love with it and even went on to get her PhD from CalTech.

As an early pioneer of women in computing, her work both as an industry professional and in the nonprofit sector is an inspiration to women around the globe. Under her leadership, she not only saved the Anita Borg Institute from bankruptcy, but also laid the groundworks for the Grace Hopper Conference, which attracts 22,000+ participants a year. It was great to listen to first-hand experiences and get advice from one of the most prominent champions of women in STEM!

Next up, we heard from Stanford biologist Amy Tarangelo about how to give a compelling science presentation. As she succinctly put, “science isn’t finished until it’s communicated.” From slideshow formatting to talking tips to graphic design, Ms. Tarangelo helped us prepare a lot for all the science presentations we are sure to give in the future!

Finally, we heard from artist Alexa Meade about her captivating three-dimensional artwork. Although at first glance, her artwork doesn’t seem to have much to do with artificial intelligence, many components of her artistic journey, and her convoluted path to success can inform us of how to approach the . And it was really cool to see the artistic genius behind Ariana Grande’s “God is a woman” music video.

We heard from so many great speakers today, and took our first steps in understanding the new and booming field of Artificial Intelligence!

Blog post and all photos by Vivian Liu

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