High School students explore AI for science with A3D3

By: Rajeev Bhavin Botadra 
November 16, 2023

Seattle, WA– Around 50 High school scholars visited the A3D3 Institute and met with students working in labs under the A3D3 project. Organized by the Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) effort at the University of Washington (UW), the event consisted of cohorts of high schoolers across 9 partnering high schools who toured multiple labs across the UW campus. 

In connecting the high schoolers with college students, GEAR UP aims to prepare them for their upcoming college applications and spark their interest in STEM disciplines.

Six researchers associated with the UW A3D3 Institute volunteered for the event: Leo Scholl (Postdoc) and Katherine Perks (PhD candidate) from Amy Osborn’s aoLab; Rajeev Botadra (Masters student) from Scott Hauck’s ACME Lab; Baker Wong, Maddox Spinelli (Undergraduate students), and Abdou Alrahman from Shih-Chieh Hsu’s Lab. Together, they were able to discuss common themes of AI for driving science explored by A3D3, with applications to both particle physics and neuroscience.

The volunteers presented a Pokémon classification demo on a Xilinx PYNQ FPGA as an analog to the research done in the lab. The demo was useful in introducing the research at a high level and inviting further questions about the lab. “Seeing graphs and equations you don’t understand can be intimidating, so instead we showed Jigglypuff.” Katherine and Leo from the aoLab also brought a model of a monkey skull reconstructed from MRI scans of a monkey in their lab and fabricated from 3D printed plastic and silicone. While the students handed the model around and explored the different materials making up the brain, skull, and skin, the volunteers explained how the models are used for training and planning the surgical procedures to implant electrodes used for collecting neuroscience data.