UMaine AI: Enhancing human life and societal well-being in Maine and beyond

Artificial intelligence (AI) — the development of computer systems that perform tasks that normally require human intelligence; including visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and language translation — once was considered to be a concept for science-fiction writing or a vision for the future of computing. 

The University of Maine Artificial Intelligence Initiative (UMaine AI) is dedicated to the advancement of AI and its applications — from discovery and learning in foundational AI to its high-impact uses and workforce development. Its vision is to make Maine a world-class hub for AI research, education and applications through its mission to develop transformative AI-based solutions that enhance the social and economic well-being of the citizens of Maine and beyond.

In support of the workforce needs of the state, UMaine offers a multitude of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, interdisciplinary research collaborations and courses that train students in artificial intelligence and its applications. Opportunities abound for undergraduate and graduate students to engage in interdisciplinary research areas, from machine learning, data science and engineering to health and life sciences, business, and education.

The UMaine AI Initiative is a unique, Maine-based venture that brings together university, industry, government and community collaborators from Maine and beyond to advance the field of artificial intelligence. The initiative leverages the university’s strengths to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to solving problems through cutting-edge research.

Maine’s land, sea and space grant university addresses grand challenges of global impact and local relevance in AI research projects covering issues from forestry modeling, cancer detection, space travel and autonomous vehicle programs. UMaine AI has four areas of focus: foundational AI research; application of AI; education and workforce development; and social, ethical, policy and legal considerations.

Among UMaine’s AI researchers, Roy Turner, associate professor of computer science, leads a project that will result in an instrument capable of high-speed computations that were previously unachievable. This new computing capacity will make UMaine more competitive for national grants, and will facilitate research statewide, according to Turner. 

And Yifeng Zhu, professor of computer engineering, has developed AI models to detect liver cancers. Zhu also has collaborated with local hospitals to develop smart sensors for gait analysis to prevent and detect falls.

As AI improves and expands, the demand for it does, as well. From everyday mobile banking, online shopping, streaming movies and social media networks – AI connects the world with more efficient decision-making and improved customer experiences through advanced and adaptable algorithms.

“UMaine AI is dedicated to enhancing human life and societal well-being. It draws top talent and leverages a distinctive set of capabilities from the University of Maine across many disciplines and other collaborating institutions from across Maine and beyond, while it also recruits world-class talent from across the nation and the world,” says Kody Varahramyan, UMaine vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School.

Contact: Christel Peters, 207.581.3571