Nittany AI Alliance

The Nittany AI Alliance is creating programs that bring together the Penn State community, technology leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs. These programs create meaningful engagement opportunities for students focused on new artificial intelligence solutions, services, and outreach projects with industry partners.

Our Mission

The Nittany AI Alliance provides students with unique opportunities to help prepare them to lead in a world shaped by artificial intelligence. To accomplish its mission, the Alliance provides Penn State students project-based experiences, access to industry-leading AI technology, and curated resources to enable experiential learning opportunities. This work brings together companies seeking strategic AI collaborations, faculty working on innovative AI research, and staff looking to address higher education process pain points through the use of AI.

Student Engagement

Nittany AI Challenge

The Nittany AI Challenge offers teams of students the chance to compete for grants by developing and presenting AI–based solutions that solve real-world problems. Leading AI companies, which have included Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM Watson, Microsoft and Oracle, offer free workshops and training resources to help teams better understand and leverage their technologies.

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Nittany AI Advance

The Nittany AI Advance program provides Penn State students hands-on experience that enhances their classroom learning by offering opportunities to work on artificial intelligence–related projects. Selected students will work on semester-long projects that involve creating proofs of concept to demonstrate the potential impact of AI in addressing real-world problems.

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In 2018, the inaugural EdTech Engage conference brought together more than 135 faculty, staff, students, and company representatives to discuss the impact of AI and machine learning in higher education. The Nittany AI Challenge raised $42,000 through company sponsorships for HackPSU and resulted in 71 submissions. Participation increased from previous years, with 58 faculty/staff and 196 students representing more than 25 majors, 10 campuses, 16 colleges, and 35 academic departments. The Challenge concluded with three teams being chosen to receive funding for further development: LionPlanner; ProFound, A Professor Search Engine; and Aspire.

The Nittany AI Alliance engages Penn State through a variety of programs, events, and projects to foster AI–enabled innovations. In 2018, the Alliance impacted 16 campuses and over 700 faculty, staff, and students, while involving leading AI and technology companies. We will continue to focus on providing students with hands-on experiential learning opportunities through the practical application of AI to solve real-world problems.

—Daren Coudriet, Director and Entrepreneur in Residence

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