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UAPB teaches intro to AI Workshop

UAPB Professors Karl Walker (left) and Sederick Rice facilitate an AI discussion at the Ivy Center for Education Future Engineers Program workshop. (Special to The Commercial/Mary Hester-Clifton)

An introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the topic at February's Future Engineers Program hosted by the Ivy Center for Education.


Sederick Charles Rice and Karl Walker, professors at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, led the in-person and Zoom workshop for middle and high school students at The Generator in Pine Bluff.


The session introduced Data Science, "R" Programming Language, and AI to students, parents, and interested adults who were in attendance.


The AI discussion focused on how a person's five senses translate to artificial intelligence's ability to simulate human intelligence in machines programmed to think, learn and problem-solve like humans while reducing the fear of machines replacing humans, according to a news release.


Mariya Greer and Chandler Parker, Pine Bluff High School sophomores, participated in person.


"I was excited to learn about AI and how to program," Greer said.


Parker agreed.


"I learned how much AI relates to us and how we (humans) can teach AI," Parker said.


Students learned the importance of data science -- an interdisciplinary academic field that uses statistics, scientific computing, processes, and algorithms to analyze and create visuals from data sets -- as a field of study and career.


"It is always interesting to learn more about technology," said Bradlee Miller, a Pine Bluff Junior High School attendee.


Second to the introduction to AI was an interactive session on how AI is involved in flight engineering and space launch rocket systems.


The student groups opened and worked on Smithsonian Jet Works Science Kits and were introduced to Estes Journey Launch model rockets. The model rockets can fly as high as 1,100 feet.


Participants learned more about the phases of rocket flight, including liftoff, thrust, coast, ejection, parachute deploy and landing. The model rockets will be used in future adult-supervised launches in Pine Bluff Regional Park as part of an April Future Engineers Program session.


Mattie Collins, Ivy Center for Education Inc. president, thanked the UAPB faculty for engaging the community and students at all levels and ages in engineering fields and careers and thanked everyone for participating.


"The presentation on AI was exciting because now I know more about AI, and as a senior citizen, it removes some of the fears around AI. Every time I attend these workshops, I learn something new," Collins said.

Students in the Ivy Center for Education Future Engineers Program workshop included (from top) Mariya Greer and Chandler Parker, Pine Bluff High School sophomores; and Bradlee Miller, Pine Bluff Junior High School 7th grader. (Special to The Commercial/Mary Hester-Clifton)

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