University-Industry Engagement Week

MIT seeks to drive diversity in the artificial intelligence industry


By David Schwartz
Published: April 26th, 2022

The MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing is launching Break Through Tech AI, a new program that seeks to bridge the talent gap for women and underrepresented groups in  artificial intelligence and related industries.

Break Through Tech AI will provide skills-based training, industry-relevant project portfolios, and mentoring to qualified undergraduate students in the Greater Boston area in order to position them more competitively for careers in data science, machine learning, and AI. The free 18-month program will also provide each student with a stipend to lower the barrier for those typically unable to engage in an unpaid, extra-curricular educational opportunity.

“Helping position students from diverse backgrounds to succeed in fields such as data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence is critical for our society’s future,” says Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing. “We look forward to working with students from across the Greater Boston area to provide them with skills and mentorship to help them find careers in this competitive and growing industry.”

The school is collaborating with Break Through Tech — a national initiative launched by Cornell Tech in 2016 to increase the number of women and underrepresented groups graduating with degrees in computing — to host and administer the program. In addition to Boston, the inaugural AI and machine learning program will be offered in two other metro areas — one in New York hosted by Cornell Tech and another in Los Angeles hosted by the UCLA’s engineering school.

“Break Through Tech’s success at diversifying who is pursuing computer science degrees and careers has transformed lives and the industry,” says Judith Spitz, executive director of Break Through Tech. “With our new collaborators, we can apply our impactful model to drive inclusion and diversity in artificial intelligence.”

The new program will kick off this summer at MIT with an eight-week, skills-based online course and in-person lab experience that teaches industry-relevant tools to build real-world AI solutions. Students will learn how to analyze datasets and use several common machine learning libraries to build, train, and implement their own machine learning models in the context of real-world business.

Following the summer course, students will be matched with machine-learning challenge projects and work in teams to build solutions and collaborate with an industry advisor or mentor throughout the academic year, providing the students with a portfolio of resume-quality work. The participants will also be paired with young professionals in the field to help build their network, prepare their portfolio, practice for interviews, and cultivate workplace skills.

“Leveraging the college’s strong partnership with industry, Break Through Tech AI will offer unique opportunities to students that will enhance their portfolio in machine learning and AI,” says Asu Ozdaglar, deputy dean of academics of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Ozdaglar will serve as the MIT faculty director of Break Through Tech AI. The industry projects will be overseen by Aude Oliva, the computing college’s director of strategic industry engagement.

“The college is committed to making computing inclusive and accessible for all. We’re thrilled to host this program at MIT for the Greater Boston area and to do what we can to help increase diversity in computing fields,” adds Ozdaglar.

Source: India Education

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week