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Faculty Excellence Chris McCauley January 23, 2024

Speaker Qimin Yan, Ph.D. On January 19, 2024, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences hosted a half-day research retreat focused on artificial intelligence at the UAB Alumni House. Over 60 faculty members, graduate students, and staff members from the College attended and participated in the thought-provoking event.

Dr.Shadid Mukhtar leads a conversation on AI during one of the breakout sessions.Dr. Shahid Mukhtar leads a conversation on AI during a breakout session.The retreat featured three AI researchers who each delivered 30-minute presentations on their work. Tom Hartvigsen, Ph. D., University of Virginia and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, kicked-off the event with a presentation titled, “Towards Responsible and Updatable Language Models for Healthcare.” Following Hartvigsen’s presentation, Qimin Yan, Ph.D., Northeastern University, took the podium and shared his research findings through a presentation titled, “Physical Principle Informed AI and Machine Learning for Science and Engineering Problems.” Lastly, John D. Osborne, Ph.D., Informatics Institute at UAB, concluded the first part of the agenda with a talk titled, “Language Models Large and Small: Clinical and Biomedical Applications.”

After the opening presentations, the three researchers participated in a panel discussion moderated by Yuliang Zheng, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Computer Science. The discussion was robust and set the stage for members of the CAS community to explore collaborative research opportunities during four breakout sessions (which took place immediately after the panel discussion).

The breakout sessions focused on the following areas: Foundational AI, AI in Biological Systems, AI in Materials Science, and AI Across Disciplines. The CAS leadership team coordinated these brainstorming sessions with the goal of prompting faculty members and graduate students to identify research ideas for a future AI Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Competition within the College. The conversations included an array of voices from the natural sciences and mathematics, as well as the social and behavioral sciences. Alongside these sessions, students from the College displayed and presented posters highlighting their research related to AI.

In the future, the College will offer additional details and information about the AI Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Competition.

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