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NDSU graduate student Pankaj Shah participated in the Forum on Viewpoint Diversity in Tech and Innovation on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Shah, a master’s degree student in computer science, was one of 20 students from around the world selected for the program.
The forum brought together students and professionals to discuss diverse perspectives on policy and technical questions surrounding innovations in big tech, social media policy and the future of artificial intelligence.
Shah grew up in Biratnagar, Nepal, where he worked as a software developer for four years. He said the forum introduced him to a broader set of issues concerning the future of technology.
“When I built applications, I only thought from the user perspective or the business perspective or the technicalities, but I never thought a lot about things like privacy issues,” said Shah. “Now, every time I build a new software, I will think about the policy perspective.”
Shah was encouraged to apply by Zahid Anwar, an NDSU cybersecurity professor and scholar with the Challey Institute. Anwar seeks to prepare his students for the viewpoint diversity they will encounter in the technology industry.
“Globalization is causing demographic changes in the workforce and allowing for integration of people from different countries, bringing diversity not only in religion and culture, but also in thoughts, values and attitudes. In the tech industry, this allows for a rich infusion of creative ideas vital for innovation," Anwar said.
Shah is applying these lessons during his summer internship with Codelation, a Fargo-based team of web and app builders, marketers, startup consultants and product testers who turn ideas into powerful products.
“A lot of consumers are unaware of how much data is needed for the systems to work properly. That is the reason software developers need to be ethical, because a lot of people are naïve about these kinds of things,” said Shah.
The program was co-hosted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy. The forum is part of the Mercatus Center’s larger Pluralist Lab, an effort to foster open mindedness while demonstrating how citizens can exchange ideas and coexist across philosophical differences.
Professor Jen Li was recently awarded a four year multi-institute grant of six million dollars, funded through the Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-2 Focused EPSCoR Collaborations (RII Track-2 FEC). The goal of the project is to develop integrated research infrastructure and workforce in Edge AI. Based on the developed infrastructure, targeting the use case of diabetes care, the team will design, prototype, and test a low-cost smart wearable device for personalized diabetes management. The developed wearable diabetes device will enable significant cost reduction and high power efficiency compared to existing techniques. The leading institution is the University of South Alabama; the collaborating institutions are North Dakota State University, the University of Arkansas, the University of North Dakota, Alabama A&M University, and Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College. Professor Li and Assistant Professor Danling Wang from Electrical and Computer Engineering are the principle investigators for NDSU. The team will work closely with multiple industry partners to adopt and adapt the developed Edge AI infrastructure in different use cases. Research outcomes of this project will accelerate the development of Edge AI and will increase the competitiveness of the United States in AI. The project also aims to integrate research, education, and workforce development in order to provide effective training at multiple levels. The project will develop an Education-to-Workforce Pipeline from high school to undergraduate, graduate, Post-Doctoral training, junior faculty, and industry practitioners.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Dr. Li is a full professor in the computer science department. Some of her research interests include large-scale distributed systems, semantic web technologies, social networks, information retrieval, and knowledge discovery.
NDSU Computer Science Professor Dr. Anne Denton was live in studio on Afternoons Live with Tyler Axness for a fantastic conversation about a number of topics in the world of computer science including artificial intelligence and cultural impacts.
Listen to the full discussion.