Popular Practicum AI Series Now Available to Everyone

UF Information Technology (UFIT) is making its popular Practicum AI beginner series of courses available online through UF Professional and Workforce Development. The series is available to anyone interested in learning the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, including UF alumni and members of the public that want to understand and apply AI tools. Developed to introduce a broad audience to hands-on applied artificial intelligence applications, the Practicum AI series assumes no prior knowledge of coding or AI, and is a great introduction for professionals in any field where AI can be applied. The beginner series has four courses:

1. Getting Started with AI: An introduction to AI, AI models and their development, and AI ethics. 

2. Computing For AI: An introduction to the computational tools used in AI: Git and GitHub.com and Jupyter Notebooks. Participants will use these tools on either a high-performance computer system or in Google Colab. 

3. Python for AI: An introduction to Python programming and data science tools used in AI. This class focuses on the core aspects needed for applied AI. The course also introduces strategies for working with AI coding assistants to accelerate your skills. 

4. Deep Learning Foundations: An introduction to neural networks, deep learning, and how to train AI models using the skills you’ve gained in the previous three courses.

Each course earns a completion badge, and participants who complete all four courses will earn the Practicum AI Beginner Series digital certificate, issued from Credly. The courses are available to anyone at a modest cost — only $20 per class or $50 if purchasing all four at the bundle price. Practicum AI is free for UF faculty and staff (use discount code “ufstaff”) and for students (use discount code “ufstudent”).

With the beginner series of courses now live, UFIT’s Practicum AI team has begun work creating the Intermediate series. The first of these — Computer Vision — will be offered in-person in Summer 2024. Natural Language Processing and Generative AI courses are also in development. For additional information or questions, please contact UFIT’s Research Computing Training Team leader Matt Gitzendanner (magitz@ufl.edu).

Practicum AI Offered This Summer

The Practicum AI program will be offered this summer, from June 7–July 12. Practicum AI is led by Training and Biocomputing Specialist Dr. Matt Gitzendanner.

Practicum AI is a hands-on, applied AI curriculum developed for participants with a limited coding and math background. Using hands-on exercises and graphically-based, conceptual content, learners without extensive computational skills can begin exploring applied AI. While all sessions will be available via Zoom, registrants are encouraged to attend in person for the best opportunity to learn, interact with instructors and fellow students, and to ask questions. Practicum AI will be held in the UF Informatics Institute. Registration closes May 31. Visit this link to register.

Getting Started with AI │ June 7, 1-5pm
Introduction to artificial intelligence, how it can be applied in diverse disciplines, and some key ethical considerations.
Computing for AI │ June 14, 12:30-5pm
Getting started with the foundational tools used in AI research, including Jupyter Notebooks, Git and GitHub.com, and computer clusters, like HiPerGator.
Python for AI │ July 6 and July 7, 1-5pm
Introduction to the basics of Python programming, which is the predominant language used in AI. The course assumes no prior programming experience. Participants will learn the basics of Python to begin using AI frameworks for AI research.
Deep Learning Foundations (DLF) │ July 10, July 12, and July 13, 2-3:30pm
Introduction to neural networks–how they work and how to train them. Students must attend the July 6-7 Python course to participate in the three-day DLF course.

Expanding External Usage of HiPerGator

Federated identity access allows only authorized users secure access to multiple services and domains via a single set of verified credentials. To support federated access to HiPerGator, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, the following websites will be updated to use the InCommon Discovery Service:

jupyterhub.rc.ufl.edu and jhub.rc.ufl.edu
ondemand.rc.ufl.edu and ood.rc.ufl.edu

InCommon is an integrated service enabling single sign-on, access to cloud and local services, and global collaboration. UF faculty with collaborators at other InCommon federated institutions will benefit by not having to arrange GatorLink IDs for them. State university system and SEC institution faculty will also benefit, because they will now be able to use their institutional account credentials; a boon for those institutions’ instructors teaching large classes using HiPerGator AI.

Users will be directed to the InCommon Federation Discovery website after the update is complete. Be sure the ‘Remember selection for this web browser session’ checkbox is selected to skip this step in the future on the same computer. Then, select ‘University of Florida’ from the dropdown. After selecting University of Florida, users will be directed to the GatorLink login page (https://login.ufl.edu/).

UFIT wants all HiPerGator ecosystem users to be aware of this impending change. Anyone with questions about these InCommon federated access additions may contact Training and Biocomputing Specialist Dr. Matt Gitzendanner.

AI Learning Options and Club Activities

Artificial intelligence is more than a buzzword: it is now an integral part of the UF  learning experience. With UF’s AI Initiative, students pursuing any major can gain valuable experience in machine learning through student AI certificates, academic courses, events, and organizations. Some of the Gator AI opportunities available, regardless of major, include:

Taking the “Frontiers in AI” Course
This 1-credit, online course (BSC2930) give students a high-level overview of artificial intelligence and machine learning terminology. Students will hear from guest speakers in a variety of science and non-science disciplines talk about how they are using AI. The course also includes lessons on AI fairness, equity, and ethics in AI.

AI Certificate
UF offers the Certificate in AI Fundamentals and Applications to undergraduates. All students can benefit from learning the basic applications of AI, and completing this 9-credit certificate is a great way to augment your degree-seeking program.

AI Clubs and Organizations
Students have networking and training opportunities in AI and high performance computing (HPC) through campus organizations like the GAITOR Club and Women in HPC and AI. Get involved with these AI-focused organizations to start or build on your AI journey.

Deeper Interactions at 2022 Tech Fair

The 2022 Tech Fair focused on helping students get to the next level. Whether that level is a full-time job or a space in their preferred graduate program, campus technology experts spent quality time helping students advance their dreams for the future.

“I was familiar with GitHub before Tech Fair, but Dr. [Matt] Gitzendanner helped me to learn new tools to make my profile stand out,” said junior Mario Molina. “I am excited to add my resume to my profile and keep growing my GitHub skills.”

UFIT partnered with the Career Connections Center to provide professional job hunting expertise in the Tech Fair tents. A goal of this year’s Tech Fair was to have deeper interactions with students. To achieve that, the event was extended to two days. Additionally, UFIT developed a student satisfaction survey and collected feedback on potential additions to ONE.UF. UFIT staff also solicited opinions on designs for future learning spaces. Sophomore Sherrine Fils-Aime really enjoyed this particular component of Tech Fair:

“Future-planning for classroom accessibility was very useful because I was able to produce
a classroom design that would be more functional and accessible to students with all learning capabilities.”

Anyone with questions about the 2022 Tech Fair, or who has suggestions for next year’s event, is welcome to email UFIT Communications.