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The UMaine AI Initiative—Maine as a hub of technological advancement

The University of Maine Artificial Intelligence Initiative (UMaine AI) is focused on the development of transformative AI solutions that will help overcome the challenges of the future. Its research addresses issues such as space travel, autonomous vehicle programs, forestry modeling, cancer detection and many others.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Roy Turner, is leading a project that aims to build an instrument capable of previously unachieved high-speed computations. According to Turner, an instrument of such computing capacity will make UMaine more likely to be considered for national grants and will facilitate greater statewide research. Turner’s project has already received a $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Another project, co-led by Dr. Nicholas Giudice and Dr. Richard Corey, who run and direct the VEMI Lab at UMaine, is dedicated to improving user trust of autonomous vehicles through a new study they call human-vehicle collaboration (HVC). Its goal is to explore new ways of communication between human passengers and the operating artificial intelligence “driver.” The NSF awarded the project a $500,000 grant.

There are many more projects that fall under the initiative’s umbrella. From AI models that detect liver cancer to ones that optimize forest and lumber management, UMaine AI is at the forefront of artificial intelligence research.

As part of the UMaine AI Initiative, the university offers a number of different courses on the subject of artificial intelligence to students with AI-related degree programs. From computer science to electrical engineering, UMaine AI casts a wide net for all those who may want to get involved in research opportunities. According to the program’s workforce development directive, the program operates at the intersection of diverse disciplines and fosters a synergistic environment that brings together interdisciplinary teams of collaborators dedicated to the advancement of artificial intelligence and its applications.

“UMaine AI is dedicated to enhancing human life and societal well-being. It draws top talent and leverages a distinctive set of capabilities from the University of Maine across many disciplines and other collaborating institutions from across Maine and beyond, while it also recruits world-class talent from across the nation and the world,” Kody Varahramyan, UMaine vice president for research and dean of the graduate school, said.

With the artificial intelligence market expected to grow by about 45% before 2025 — reaching an estimated global net worth of almost $400 billion — AI is quickly becoming one of the most important divisions in the tech industry. With research opportunities and developments aplenty, UMaine AI creates a great learning environment for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the technologies and technology market.

Whether or not UMaine will become the “Silicon Valley of the East” we cannot say, but with its current developments, UMaine has established itself as a competitive research university nationwide which is a step in the right direction. Having procured more than $750,000 in funding, its newly acquired resources are sure to advance our knowledge of artificial intelligence and its applications.

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