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Educational initiative exposes youth to cutting-edge technologies

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-14 10:47

"It's really a great opportunity to learn about AI. We are doing the self-driving cars. It's pretty cool!" 10th grader William told Xinhua at the eighth annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose, California.

Aimed at exposing underrepresented youth to cutting-edge technologies and encouraging them to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math, NVIDIA and Iridescent, a global STEM education nonprofit, launched Thursday an educational initiative, NVIDIA Techsplorer.

William is one of 200 middle and high school students from Bay Area learned from NVIDIA engineers about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its applications in healthcare and automotive, participated in hands-on activities on the initiative.

"The goal with NVIDIA Techsplorer program is to get youth exposed to Artificial Intelligence concepts. Because everyone will be working with AI in the future. So it's not too soon for someone who is in elementary, middle or high school to start thinking about what their careers might look like in the Artificial Intelligence world," Tonie Hansen, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, NVIDIA, told Xinhua.

During the event, NVIDIA engineers introduced fundamental AI concepts, like parallel processing and the underpinnings of neural networks, which are then brought to life through hands-on design challenges.

The AI design challenges introduce complex topics in a fun, engaging and collaborative way and replicate a real-world engineering design cycle. Because students use everyday materials, such as rubber bands, paper clips and aluminum foil, the lessons are affordable, making them accessible to everyone.

"AI is taking over every field in engineering, technology and beyond, creating a tangible risk of a disconnect between underserved communities and AI that will result in a fear that machines and technology are a threat to livelihoods and well-being. Therefore, we are addressing the core problems AI is solving," said Tara Chklovski, CEO and Founder, Iridescent.

Following the launch of Techsplorer at GTC, the AI design challenges, explanatory videos and supporting educational materials will be made available on Curiosity Machine, Iridescent's online platform that reaches about 1 million students, parents and educators annually, according to the education nonprofit organization.

"The best we to do that is to bring children to understand how these technologies are changing this world and they have to be part of that," Chklovski told Xinhua.

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