AI at WPI

a hand holding a tablet with another hand in motion above it, with what appears to be the content from the screen floating in front

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is part of the fabric of WPI—and has been for 50 years. 

From the September 1969 launch of the graduate program (MS) in computer science to virtual reality projects in the early 1990s to today’s fast-paced development of AI, WPI’s expertise connecting technology and data builds upon years of research and project-based education. With instruction and collaboration from expert faculty members, WPI students acquire the specialized technical skills and the ethical understanding needed to tackle the complex, interdisciplinary future work of AI.   

 

 

Programs and Departments with AI

WPI’s departments and programs infuse AI across projects and courses so students can apply AI considerations to what they are learning now and how they will work in the future. In addition, WPI offers an artificial intelligence master’s program, a BS/MS in AI option, and a graduate certificate in AI, for students who want to gain a deeper understanding of the field. 

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students working over a table with one student in AI headgear

Master’s in Artificial Intelligence

WPI’s 30-credit, flexible MS-AI degree allows students gain technical expertise in understanding, developing, deploying, and innovating AI techniques and systems in a responsible fashion.  Students, who come from varied degree and technical preparation backgrounds, learn future-ready job skills with project-based courses and either a capstone or thesis. Working with industry partners, they apply AI skills across industries and disciplines. 

Find out more about the MS in Artificial Intelligence at WPI.

Combined BS/MS Degree

WPI undergraduates may pursue an accelerated BS/MS option. While earning a bachelor’s degree in any major offered at WPI, students may concurrently pursue an MS in AI by double-counting certain courses toward both degrees. This accelerated option shortens the time for completing two degrees.

Graduate Certificate in AI

The 12-credit graduate certificate in Artificial Intelligence (AI) prepares students to utilize AI technologies in real-world applications. Course choices are targeted to AI and the student's interests. Find out more about WPI's graduate certificate in AI.

WPI has long led higher education as a place where students and faculty have used AI and project-based learning to tackle big challenges in healthcare, justice, manufacturing, the environment, and other fields.
  • Jean King, Peterson Family Dean of the WPI School of Arts & Sciences

Learn More About AI Terms

Algorithm

An algorithm is a set of step-by-step instructions or rules given to a computer to perform a specific task. Think of it as a recipe that guides the computer in solving a problem. 

Artificial Intelligence, AI

AI refers to machines or computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence and/or mimic the behavior of humans. Tasks include learning, reasoning, problem-solving, perception, language understanding, and interacting with humans. 

Big Data

Extremely large sets of data that can be analyzedfor patterns and insights. Machine learning relies on large data sets to train models to solve tasks.   

Data Science

A field that combines analytics, statistics, data management, machine learning, AI, data management, mathematics, computer programming, and visualizations to identify insights in information in order to tackle impactful problems and communicate insights to stakeholders. 

Deep Learning

A type of machine learning inspired by the human brain. Deep learning uses neural networks with multiple layers, also known as deep neural networks, to analyze and learn from data in order to make predictions. It isoften used for complex tasks, such as image recognition and speech recognition. 

Generative AI

A type of artificial intelligence that is trained to find patterns in data to create new material, such as images, text, or even music,without explicit instructions. Generative AI uses complex algorithms to produce material that can range from innovative and surprising to inaccurate and misleading. ChatGPT is an example of Generative AI. 

Large Language Models

A type of generative AIthat can generate text. Large language models are trained on very large data sets of text, such as Wikipedia, to understand, translate, and/or produce written text in a way that mimics humans.  

Machine Learning

Machine learning is a subset of AI algorithms that teaches a computer to recognize patterns and make decisions on its own. Machine learning enables computers to learn and improve from experience or access to data and its labels without being explicitly programmed. 

Neural Networks

A computer system inspired by the human brain's structure. Neural networks are used in machine learning to recognize patterns and make decisions. Imagine it as a network of connected nodes that work together to solve problems.  

Natural Language Processing, also NLP

A field of AI that focuses on enabling machines to understand, interpret, and generate human language. It makes voice assistants and language translation possible. 

Robotics

Robotics involves the design, construction, and operation of hardware that in some cases may mimic the operations and tasks usually performed by humans. Robots are machines that can carry out tasks autonomously or semi-autonomously, often with the help of AI. 

AI Research Groups & Labs

Research at WPI

Machine Learning Labs

AI and GPT: AI for Research Library Guides

Additional faculty focus areas:

  • Robotics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Science
  • Smart Cities
  • Autonomous Vehicles
  • Learning Sciences
  • UXDM
  • Fire Protection
  • Wireless
     
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a male using a virtual reality headset

AI Conversations on Campus

Critical Conversations Events

AI and Healthcare: WPI’s community engages in important discussions and considerations about how AI impacts and influences human life. A recent expert panel discussion, Critical Conversation: Artificial Intelligence & Your Health: The Future is Now considered the implications of AI in healthcare and questions including topics surrounding AI in medicine and how it may help diagnose, predict, or even prevent disease.

AI and Language: Another Critical Conversation event focused on ChatGPT explored how the debut of large language models challenged society’s understanding of how AI can work. Watch the video of the Critical Conversations ChatGPT event.

 

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a group of people speaking at a panel behind a table

 

With the flexible nature of these AI offerings, students can tailor their program to the needs of many different career paths.
  • John McNeill, Bernard M. Gordon Dean of WPI’s School of Engineering

Manasi Vartak '10 Uses AI to Help Businesses

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Headshot of Manasi Vartak wearing a black blazer

As founder and CEO of AI start-up Verta, Manasi Vartak ’10 knew WPI would give her the tools she needed to make a difference in a rapidly developing industry.

ChatGPT: Revolutionary Tech or Pandora’s Box?

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graphic image of a female form and abstract images around technology and AI

In this Journal article, five WPI experts weigh in on the impact of ChatGPT—in society and in the classroom—as the world adjusts to this new landscape.


Opportunities in Artificial Intelligence

Once a year, the Department of Computer Science opens up the national AI4ALL program. AI4ALL offers students the opportunity to take free courses in the ethics of AI, pursue internships and jobs, collaborate with industry partners, and gain access to AI4ALL’s alumni network.


 

AI Faculty Experts

Elke Rundensteiner
Elke Rundensteiner
Professor, Computer Science, Program Head, Data Science, Computer Science

As founding Head of the interdisciplinary Data Science program here at WPI, I take great pleasure in doing all in my power to support the Data Science community in all its facets from research collaborations, and new educational initiatives to our innovative industry-sponsored and mentored Graduate Qualifying projects at the graduate level.

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Carolina Ruiz
Carolina Ruiz
Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences, Computer Science

Carolina Ruiz is the Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Harold L. Jurist ’61 and Heather E. Jurist Dean's Professor of Computer Science. She joined the WPI faculty in 1997. Prof. Ruiz’s research is in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Mining, and their applications to Medicine and Health. She has worked on several clinical domains including sleep, stroke, obesity and pancreatic cancer. Prof.

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Jean King
Jean King
Dean of Arts & Sciences,
School of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Jean King is the WPI Peterson family Dean in the School of Arts and Sciences. She also serves as a Professor of Biology and Biotechnology, affiliate Professor in Biomedical Engineering Department, Professor in the Neuroscience Program and Director, NeuroTech Suite at WPI. Prior to joining WPI, she was vice provost for biomedical research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; a tenured professor of psychiatry, radiology, and neurology; and director of the university’s Center for Comparative Neuroimaging.

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Xiangnan Kong
Xiangnan Kong
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Professor Kong’s research interests focus on data mining and machine learning, with emphasis on addressing the data science problems in biomedical and social applications. Data today involves an increasing number of data types that need to be handled differently from conventional data records, and an increasing number of data sources that need to be fused together. Dr. Kong is particularly interested in designing algorithms to tame data variety issues in various research fields, such as biomedical research, social computing, neuroscience, and business intelligence.

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$15 trillion


AI will contribute to the global economy by 2030

PWC, 2023

 

 

0.5 to 0.9 percentage points


potential increase to US labor productivity through 2030 because of Generative AI 

McKinsey Global Institute, 2023