Putting Machine Learning Skills to the Test: Students Begin AI Studio Projects in New York, Boston, and LA

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The Break Through Tech AI Program is focused on giving students the skills and confidence to succeed in machine learning and AI — and there’s no better way to put what they know to the test than the first-of-its-kind AI Studio program.

  • AI Program

What is AI Studio?

The Break Through Tech AI Program is focused on giving students the skills and confidence to succeed in machine learning and AI — and there’s no better way to put what they know to the test than the first-of-its-kind AI Studio program. 

Once they have completed their Machine Learning Foundations summer course in eCornell — where they acquire foundational skills and get hands-on experience through assignments and faculty-led labs — in August students are matched to a real-world machine learning project challenge presented by a leading industry partner with a presence in their region.

With the encouragement and guidance of a Challenge Advisor from the partner company, teams of 3-6 students work with large-scale, real-world datasets to train, test, and evaluate machine learning models in a variety of contexts. 

AI Studio culminates with a final presentation by the students to their Challenge Advisor and other company stakeholders and technical leaders in early December.

This year, 11 industry partners in New York and 6 partners  in Los Angeles have offered up AI Studio project challenges for Break Through Tech AI students. In Boston this year, the projects are hosted by PhDs and Postdocs in the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. Each partner created a “pitch video” to share with students, to get them excited about their project challenge – then, students watched these videos and shared their top choices given their AI and industry-specific interest areas before being matched. 

NYC partners this year are Accenture, ASAPP, Exiger, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Orbital Insight, Pfizer, RubiconMD, USA for UNHCR, Verizon

LA partners this year are Accenture, American Express, involve.ai, Netguru, USA for UNHCR, Verizon

Real-world projects

One example of a real-world problem that students in New York site are tackling this fall comes from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which challenges students to use computer vision and machine learning to accurately segment nuclei and separate overlapping and touching nuclei in stained tissue sections, a critical process to streamline for the accurate assessment of cancer grades and the prediction of treatment effectiveness.

The team at Verizon, meanwhile, is attempting to better predict needed network coverage, using image recognition and deltas in imagery to find pockets of population expansion, as well as US Census data. The team at Pfizer is exploring uses of National Image Processing in conjunction with clustering techniques to understand patterns in patients’ lungs who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 — to help create a predictive algorithm for future COVID-19 detection. And the team at Orbital Insight is tackling manufacturer supply chain challenges through satellite imagery and geospatial data. Perhaps the most exciting part of AI Studio is how many different real-world applications of their technical skills students are exposed to, whether they are most passionate about healthcare, consumer goods, or technology innovations, to name a few.

The talent pipeline — right in your backyard

AI Studio Director Hari Raghavan says of the program, “It’s totally unique. The experience isn’t just great for students, but also for these companies that get to meet and engage with top students from their metro area who might not otherwise have gotten on their radar for internships and full-time jobs.” Last year’s pilot program saw several students remain connected to their AI Studio Challenge Advisors, and many landed internships thanks to their experience in the Break Through Tech AI program. The single fastest growing job around the world is that of machine learning engineer (LinkedIn), so the talent pipeline is competitive. Offering up an AI Studio project challenge is one way to connect with students right in a company’s backyard.

Interested in learning more about the AI Program? Read about it.Interested in participating in a future AI Studio? Submit an AI Studio project and advisor.