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Posted on : Tuesday 30th June 2020 05:32 PM

AI and Engineering Education


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Engineering education is becoming as complex as the technological concepts being taught at the nation’s universities and community colleges. As it touches nearly every facet of life, educators must consider the broader impact of technology on society.

We again survey the engineering education landscape with a sharper focus on how technologies like AI and machine learning are reshaping college curricula.They are also presenting educators with new sets of challenges.

Loring Wirbel takes a deep dive into those educational opportunities and conundrums, including how professions in the computer science domain are moving from traditional programming to what Wirbel calls “simple expansion of high-level software languages in vertical domains” such as deep learning and neural networks.

“Can universities keep pace with the fast-moving disciplines?” asks the author.

This special project explores AI and engineering education. New technologies like AI and machine learning feel like a boon to universities wishing to update their STEM curricula. But we predict academia will hit fundamental speed bumps in coming years in their efforts to develop effective criteria.

Wirbel also examines the emerging data privacy issues that will complicate the work of university researchers seeking to glean insights from open-source databases. The use of those “public” data sets is fraught with privacy issues and potential legal and ethical issues.

Our engineering education package also explores the movement toward “Green AI,” so called because the programming approach looks for ways to reduce energy consumption related to the huge amounts of computing power required to train neural networking and other models. Wirbel reports that university researchers could play a key role in implementing the Green AI approach.

We take another look at the critical role of community colleges in certifying technical workers who either can’t afford a four-year engineering degree or simply cannot get gain a coveted spot at crowded state university campuses. The California Community College System has led the nation in developing course work that meets the needs of companies that often complain of a skills gap. The system’s vice chancellor of workforce and economic development described for us how it is meeting those challenges and how it is scaling its efforts. “Change Your Life!” is the system’s clarion call, serving what looks to us like a template for training the next generation of American workers.

Across the pond, worried UK educators are proposing updated engineering courses that reflect students' growing passion for AI. Part of the reason is that British university engineering departments are losing candidates to computer science at an accelerating rate. Sally Ward-Foxton in London explains.

We conclude our AI and Engineering Special Project with a slideshow sampling of the increasing number of AI courses being offered as part of undergradate engineering degree programs. 


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ai and engineering education ai and machine learning loring wirbel

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