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My AI4ALL Summer Program Experience

by Grace Zhang

This summer, I participated in the online Stanford AI4ALL program, lasting three weeks from June 28th to July 16th. The program was a lot of fun and I got to talk with other high schoolers from all over the world while learning about Artificial Intelligence! Over these three weeks, we learned about various AI algorithms, attended lectures and demos from Stanford alumni and professors, and presented our own project on the final day. In this article, I’ll cover what AI4ALL is, the program experience, and my reflections after having attended it.

What is AI4ALL?

AI4ALL is an organization that aims to create more diversity in the field by hosting summer programs, introducing Artificial Intelligence to high school students. It was founded by Dr. Olga Russakovsky, an assistant professor at Princeton, and Dr. Fei-Fei Li, a professor at Stanford. Since its inception at Stanford, AI4ALL is now offered at 15 universities, including Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan. 

To apply, you can visit the official AI4ALL website here and navigate to each program’s website.

The Camp Experience

Every day, my schedule was packed full of activities. My day lasted from 11 am to 8 pm (although this would’ve been 8 am to 5 pm in Pacific Standard Time), and included Python programming classes, project work time, lectures from Stanford professors, demos from people working in AI fields, and one hour of social time at the end of the day. 

There were four groups, with each group working on a different project: the robotics group, which simulated plane flight, the computer vision group, which analyzed satellite images for poverty, the natural language processing (NLP) group, which classified tweets for disaster relief, and the computational biology group, which classified different types of cancers given their gene expressions. 

Each group had Stanford PhD students as mentors, who taught about various AI algorithms. We used these algorithms to complete our project task and create a final presentation analyzing our results and visualizations. 

My Reflections

In these 3 weeks, I have learned how AI can be applied to the medical field, computer imaging, haptic technology dealing with touch, robotics, and linguistics. I also learned about the ethics of working with AI, how bias can interfere with training, and some different evaluation metrics to evaluate a model’s accuracy.

Because these research groups were small, I was able to connect with the people working together with me and become closer to my mentors as well. On the final day of the program, my group worked together to create a secret thank you presentation to our mentors, and we all took time to show our appreciation for them.

Overall, it was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot!

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