Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Artificial Intelligence Tracks at Sea Challenge: Prairie View A&M University, a Historically Black College and University, Sails Away with Top Honors

by Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 12 April 2021

by Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 12 April 2021

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tracks at Sea was a STEM challenge conducted by the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific and sponsored by the Naval STEM Coordination Office, which asked collegiate teams to submit their solutions for artificial intelligence and software that could track maritime vessel traffic. The challenge was one of the many impactful, virtual, scalable initiatives implemented to pilot a new approach to conduct STEM outreach during the pandemic. The goal was to engage tomorrow's workforce on naval challenges of today.

I'm pleased to share with you the winners of the AI Tracks at Sea challenge. After a two-month open period, 31 teams across the U.S. entered the competition; only a small number of teams completed the challenge. Ultimately, the challenge awarded eight teams--five winners and three runners-up.

Place Team Amount School
First Winner CREDIT $55,000 Prairie View A&M University
Second Winner ASG Auto $45,000 FAMU-FSU College of Engineering
Third Winner AiDA $35,000 University of West Florida
Fourth Winner TrojanOne $30,000 Virginia State University
Fifth Winner Argo Tracks $20,000 University of West Florida
First runner-up The Huskies $6,000 Michigan Technological University
Second runner-up 510 Captains $6,000 Christopher Newport University
Third runner-up AIMS Lab $3,000 Purdue University

I had the pleasure of speaking with the AI Tracks at Sea lead engineer, Michael Tall, and it was the first university challenge that he sponsored. Mr. Tall said that the challenge was more challenging than expected for the teams to complete. With that, I congratulate all awardees for a job well done and give a special shout-out to Prairie View A&M University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), for their first place—truly outstanding work!

Naval STEM has been increasing efforts to reach and engage students who have been historically underrepresented in STEM to increase diversity in our STEM workforce. We, as well as leadership, recognize that a diverse workforce fosters innovation and creativity. Simply put, the Department of the Navy needs different and fresh perspectives to deliver superior naval technological advantages over our adversaries.

As Naval STEM ramps up our efforts to broaden participation, I hope the outcome of the AI Tracks at Sea challenge encourages all students to engage in opportunities with the Department of the Navy!

 

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