By: Trung Le
February 15, 2024

Seattle, WA – On February 5th, 2024, A3D3 trainees at the University of Washington (UW) kicked off their “Lunch with Professors” series, an initiative to foster a vibrant academic community within the institution. Led by student organizers Trung Le, Jingyuan Li, and Rajeev Botadra, this event series aims to connect faculty members and fifteen UW A3D3 students and postdocs in an informal and inviting setting.

The series, designed to create a welcoming space for learning and networking, is an opportunity for faculty members to get to know the trainees on a deeper level, and for trainees to gain invaluable insights and advice from faculty members, ranging from research trends, career paths, to potential opportunities from the faculty member’s network. 

The first event in the series kicked off with great enthusiasm, featuring Professor Shih-Chieh Hsu, Professor of Physics and Director of A3D3. The luncheon has drawn a diverse crowd of students from different disciplines of neuroscience, hardware design, and physics. Reflecting on the experience, attendee Leo shared: “The event was super fun! It was nice to meet with students that are in different fields but working on projects are all tied together through A3D3. And Shih-Chieh did a great job creating a friendly environment for us to chat informally about science and academia.”

A3D3 trainees and professors
A3D3 trainees and professors

In addition to the “Lunch with Professors” series, UW A3D3 trainees have also actively engaged in academic seminars. Every month, trainees gather around the A3D3 Seminar which hosts scholars working across applied areas of artificial intelligence, such as hardware algorithm co-development, high energy physics, multi-messenger astrophysics,  and neuroscience. Trainees from Eli Shlizerman’s NeuroAI Lab are also leading a weekly journal club discussing Large Language Models and their relations to NeuroAI, hosting authors of prominent papers to exchange ideas and explore emerging trends in the respective field.

Looking ahead, the A3D3 trainees will continue to further expand the reach of their initiatives to a wider audience. Their efforts highlight the importance of student-led activities in shaping the future of A3D3 academic endeavors. Through seminars and informal luncheons, they are not only facilitating a friendly environment for knowledge exchange but also fostering a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration within the A3D3 community.

By: Janina Hakenmueller

November 13, 2023

This year‘s postbac orientation took place at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina on 13th of November. The four new postbacs were welcomed by Prof. Jaiver Duarte (Equity and career committee co-chair) and local Prof. Kate Scholberg and got an introduction to the A3D3 research program.

The morning was spent on learning more about career paths in AI/ML in science and industry, hands on experience from an industry speaker, and how to apply to graduate schools. The afternoon and evening provided the opportunity to better get to know each other during a stroll through the beautiful Sarah P. Duke Gardens followed by a dinner in the inner-city of Durham. All four postbacs are excited about the year full of research that lies ahead of them.

Jada Marshall (Purdue University, Neuroscience) and Kira Nolan (California Insitute of Technology, multi-messenger astronomy) are looking into the academic career path. They enjoy research as well as working in education. Lucie Afko (Duke University, high energy physics, multi-messenger astronomy) is planning to develop her interests in a multitude of areas such as cosmology and large-scale structures, but also environmental issues such as light pollution, and the philosophy of science. Malina Desai (MIT, multi-messenger astrophysics) is especially intrigued by applying machine learning to health care.

By: Jingyuan Li
November 7, 2023

A3D3 graduate trainees Jingyuan Li and Mingfei Chen gave two presentations at WomXn at the Forefront of ECE Research (WAFER) event held by the University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) on Nov 7th.

As described by Wayne Gillam, “WAFER is a day-long event held in the Department once every two years. WAFER showcases research by women and nonbinary people in electrical and computer engineering and related fields and discusses their experiences in academia and the workplace.” 

At the event, Dr. Eric Klavins, chair of the ECE department, and Dr. Azadeh Yazdan, from UW ECE and Bioengineering department, gave the opening remarks, shedding light on building an inclusive and diverse research environment. Dr. Emily Mugler, the manager at Meta, shared her research on Neuroprosthesis for Decoding Speech and her career path in the industry. In the following talk, Dr. Vaishnavi Ranganathan, a Microsoft senior researcher,  presented her work on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Supply Chain. Dr. Ranganathan also shared her experience as a UW ECE PhD student who joined Microsoft after graduation.

Three panel discussions happened in the afternoon, including student, faculty, and industry panels. These discussions included a diverse mix of students, faculties, and industry researchers sharing their research experiences and providing time for questions, discussion, and socializing. WAFER also provided opportunities for students to share their research during Student Tech Talks. Mingfei presented her interactive audio scene generation work, sparking considerable interest and engagement.

Students Mingfei Chen and Jingyuan Li present their poster “Be Everywhere-Hear Everything (BEE): Audio Scene Reconstruction by Sparse Audio-Visual Samples

The event concluded with an engaging poster session, providing an excellent opportunity for participants to actively share, learn, and engage in meaningful communication with each other. During the session, A3D3 trainees presented their work on neural signal analysis: “AMAG: Additive, Multiplicative, and Adaptive Graph Neural Network For Forecasting Neuron Activity” accepted by NeurIPS 2023, and audio generation: “Be Everywhere-Hear Everything (BEE): Audio Scene Reconstruction by Sparse Audio-Visual Samples” accepted by ICCV 2023.

This interactive session, allowing attendees to showcase their research projects, fostered a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights. Students and faculty explored the diverse topics presented in the posters, encouraging collaboration, networking, and cultivating a vibrant academic community.

By: Rajeev Bhavin Botadra

November 22, 2023

Researchers Javier M. Duarte (Faculty at the University of California San Diego, A3D3), Luke Song (Graduate student at the Ohio State University, Imageonics), and Rajeev B. Botadra (Graduate student at University of Washington, A3D3) represented the National Science Foundation (NSF) Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) programs at the 2023 National Diversity in STEM (NDiSTEM) conference hosted in Portland, Oregon.

The SACNAS NDiSTEM conference is held annually to provide a platform for underrepresented groups in STEM to connect with peers and mentors and explore opportunities within academia and industry. By participating in this event the team aims to promote the programs under the HDR initiative while furthering the broader NSF effort of diversity in STEM.

The representatives presented opportunities across all five institutions under the HDR grant,  emphasizing the different scientific applications studied under each branch as they aligned with students’ interests. They also shared their experiences and career journeys, advising students unsure of the next step in their careers and making connections for future collaborations.

“The SACNAS NDiSTEM Conference is by far the largest gathering of its kind in the country,” Prof. Duarte said. “It’s a unique opportunity to reach potential trainees that we may not find at other conferences. Everyone is very open about sharing their cultures and identities because they recognize that it’s not separate from their science.”

The team set up a simple Pokémon classification demo at the booth using a webcam, a Pynq-Z2 FPGA board, and a monitor for display output. Using a simple quantized ResNet model fine-tuned on an open-source pokemon dataset, the Pynq-Z2 classified Pokémon in front of the camera and transmitted the labeled output to the external monitor. Rajeev commented, “the demo was very helpful in drawing people’s attention amongst dozens of other booths and breaking the ice towards a longer conversation about our research.”

“We got to interact with so many people and they were so excited to find out about the HDR  research opportunities,” Prof. Duarte said. “We hope to come back every year!”