New Research Cluster to Focus on AI

In 1968, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke introduced HAL 9000, a sentient, artificial general intelligence computer that controls the Discovery One spacecraft in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In the 1970s, robot droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO helped Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia fight the Galactic Empire.

By the 1980s, we had Tron and the Master Control Program, Blade Runner, and the first Terminator.

Each of these movies featured artificial intelligence – or AI – as either a robot, a computer, or a program, but what does AI look like off the big screen? This is the question Vasileios Maroulas plans to tackle with a new interdisciplinary initiative focused on science-informed artificial intelligence.

“The US government is making enormous investments in AI research and development so it gains and sustains leadership in the AI race,” said Maroulas, professor in the UT Department of Mathematics and leader of the Science-Informed Artificial Intelligence cluster hiring initiative, which includes faculty from chemistry, physics, engineering, and advanced manufacturing.

The goal of this initiative is to address the challenges of AI and data science, which include developing mathematical models robust enough to embed complete data knowledge in algorithms.

“Advancing the fundamental knowledge of AI will allow for advances across engineering and science,” Maroulas said. “

It will also elevate the reputation and impact of UT’s research scholarship and creative work and help make UT a leader in scientific and mathematical AI for intelligent engineering systems. The new initiative will help create opportunities for new, high-demand interdisciplinary programs for undergraduate and graduate students.

Other faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences involved in this particular cluster hire initiative include Xiaobing Feng, mathematics; Thanh Do and Konstantinos Vogiatzis, Department of Chemistry; and Adrian Del Maestro and Maxim Lavrentovich, Department of Physics and Astronomy.

“We are very happy to see so many faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences involved in these exciting new initiatives,” said Theresa M. Lee, Herbert Family Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Students look for opportunities in their academic careers to change the world. These initiatives address some of the most pressing challenges of our time and present exciting opportunities for recruitment of students and faculty to our university.”

Read more about the future of AI at UT, led by Lynne Parker, an actual UT faculty member and researcher.

We tried our hand at AI and asked ChatGPT to write a story about the artificial intelligence research initiatives at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. We discovered that while the narrative is not too bad, the information was not accurate.

The story began: “In the bustling halls of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a group of dedicated researchers were hard at work, determined to push the boundaries of what was possible with artificial intelligence.” It went downhill from there with several inaccuracies, including making up a professor and researcher at UT. We did not reprint the article.