Ibrahim Demir and UI3 Director Greg Carmichael (right)

The Iowa Informatics Initiative (UI3) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Symposium was Friday, February 15, 2019 in the University of Iowa (UI) College of Public Health building. Symposium speaker Ibrahim Demir (left in the photo with UI3 Director Greg Carmichael) is an assistant professor in the UI Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering departments. He is also a UI3 Cluster Faculty member and directs the UI Hydroinformatics Lab with specializations in hydroinformatics, scientific visualization and environmental information systems.

Demir’s UI3 AI Symposium presentation explained the history of AI, explored a range of applications and offered a glimpse into the future. He noted the shift from neural networks toward deep learning in 2014 as more domains started to engage with faster computers and produced more data. More scholarly articles about DL have been published since then, with the number spiking in 2018. While early strides were made in the field of industrial engineering with applications for autonomous transportation, Demir noted that, “Many more fields have discovered classical applications for machine learning, including geosciences.”

“Holograms, augmented and virtual reality—technologies enabled by and perfected with machine learning—revolutionize our ability to train and inform first responders while reducing risk,” said Demir. He presented many novel intelligent systems and machine learning applications from his lab for disasters and environmental datasets. The systems are designed to support decision-making and improve the day-to-day operation of federal and state agencies.

Demir noted that data and smart tools developed by tech giants Microsoft, Google and Amazon can be commanded via voice recognition technologies that understand a wider range of ages, ethnicities and language differences. “When your grandmother can command complex data on affordable, intelligent systems that help her decide when to take shelter or flee to avoid a destructive storm, we begin to realize how smart devices improve personal safety and quality of life for the most vulnerable members of society—which is increasingly important for those who live in regions affected by climate change.”

By Elizabeth Leake (UI3 Communications Manager). Cover photo by Kirk Phillips (Epidemiology Informaticist; UI College of Public Health); Images below are screen-shots from Demir's UI3 AI Symposium presentation.

big data increased with computational power
graph showing how data are generated/computationally-intensive research