Students were given a fascinating insight into Artificial Intelligence research.

Teenagers given rare insight into world-leading Artificial Intelligence research

Teenage students from across the UK have been given an invaluable insight into the world-leading advances being made in the crucial field of Artificial Intelligence, during a special course hosted by the University of Exeter.

More than 40 students were given a unique hands-on learning experience when they visited the University’s Streatham Campus in Exeter, as part of the four-day residential course, organised and delivered by educational charity The Smallpeice Trust.

During the event, which ran from 14-17 April, the 13 and 14 year-old (Year 9) students learnt about the different aspects of the field of Artificial Intelligence including talking robots, otherwise known as ‘chatbots’.

Students worked in small teams to develop their own computer program that they then tested for intelligence. The students also discovered the methods machines of the future may use to learn about their environments and make decisions for themselves.

The social programme, sponsored by the University, included a film night, sports activities and a formal dinner and disco.

Dr Zena Wood, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Exeter said: “It has been fantastic to welcome such an enthusiastic group of students to the University of Exeter. We are at the forefront of the fast-developing field of artificial intelligence and our research and teaching is focused on applying the latest developments in computer science to really important fields, such as aviation and medicine. Events like this provide a wonderful opportunity for us to share our expertise and to encourage young people to consider a career in this really exciting and important area of science.”

Dr Kevin P Stenson, Chief Executive of The Smallpeice Trust added: “Thanks to the continuing generosity of the University of Exeter, these students have been given a worthwhile insight into Artificial Intelligence. This has become an important area of study with a wide range of applications in fields ranging from financial trading systems to gaming and medicine. The students have worked enthusiastically on some interesting projects, enjoyed their first taste of studying and living in a University, and had the chance to explore some fascinating topics.”

All Smallpeice courses are linked to the National Curriculum and are designed to improve core skills such as team building, financial management, communication and problem solving. By attending one of our courses students will gain experience of university and working life that will accelerate their personal development and their potential for greater academic achievement.

The Smallpeice Trust Artificial Intelligence course is part of an ongoing programme of subsidised residential courses to help young people aged 12 to 18 develop skills in engineering, design, technology and manufacturing.

Founded by Dr Cosby Smallpeice in 1966, The Trust has grown tremendously over the past 47 years, helping thousands of young people find a successful career in a multitude of disciplines within the industry from engineering materials, marine technology and naval architecture to nanotechnology and structural engineering. Through running residential courses and STEM Enrichment Days, 17,495 students have attended a Smallpeice activity in the past year.

Date: 17 April 2014

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