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AUS students show flare for innovation during AI Week
American University of Sharjah (AUS) engineering students received high accolades at the Artificial intelligence (AI) Week held recently at the University of Sharjah.
Divided into two categories, the competition required participants to create a machine learning model that can predict a COVID-19 infection with high accuracy either based on x-ray images or symptoms.
AUS students placed well across the competition. Computer engineering students Ali Reza Sajun, Donthi Sankalpa and Nadeen Tarek placed first in the first category. They were followed by computer science student Akchunya Chanchal and computer engineering major Radi Aman Riyas, who came in separately in second place. Computer science and math major Rohan Mitra came in third in the second category.
In the first category, students were given two sets of lung x-ray images—one containing labeled images showing infected and normal lungs, and another with no labels. Students were tasked to train a model using the labeled images to identify the unlabeled ones correctly.
“We had one week to finish the competition, and it proved to be an amazing experience as it allowed us to apply our research and technical skills on a real-world problem in a competitive setting. We really benefitted from the Deep Learning and Neural Networks course taught at AUS since the competition model we implemented was based on that,” said Sajun.
He added: “It was great to win. Our effort in the competition and field in general was recognized. It also showed that our courses and the education we are receiving at AUS have prepared us to go out and innovate.”
Riyas, who came second in the first category, opted to enter the competition solo. The second-year computer engineering student said that the research skills he gained at AUS were central to his success in the competition.
“Since I am in in the early stages of my major, my experience is not as strong as that of final-year students, but the research skills I gained at AUS helped me learn a lot. Technical expertise is only one side of the equation, and it is complemented by strong research skills, determination and hard work. Throughout the competition, I found myself reading multiple research papers on techniques to fine-tune my machine learning model,” he said.
Riyas added: “Securing second place and being able to represent AUS is really an honor! I learned so much and I realized how much I still need to learn about the field. There is so much to explore. I highly recommend that students participate in such competitions and take it as an opportunity to learn something new. As AUS students, we get access to amazing opportunities, and we really need to make the most of that.”
With Deep Learning being one of the main fields of interest for third-year student Chanchal, he jumped at the opportunity to participate in the competition.
“The most useful skill that came in handy for me was exploratory data analysis, which I was able to enhance at AUS when I worked on a project with Dr. Salam Dhou last summer. Advanced Python skills that I learned in class also proved to be extremely useful. My participation in the competition came out of a desire to learn something new and to further improve myself, so when I got the news that I finished in the top three, it was a big surprise and something that made me very happy.”
Focusing on enhancing the student university experience is one of the main priorities for the College of Engineering (CEN) this academic year. A student-focused strategy was developed early this semester to further attract, retain and support students by providing them with opportunities to access competitions and conferences and support them as they embark on their careers or pursue higher education at leading international universities. A leader in engineering education in the UAE and region, CEN has received international recognition for its commitment to providing quality education through its undergraduate and graduate programs that aim to enhance research, innovation and build an entrepreneurial spirit in some key areas that are globally important, and perfectly align with the UAE’s innovative agenda.
For more information about the programs offered at CEN, please visit www.aus.edu/cen.