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In a first, you’ll be able to major in artificial intelligence at CMU |

In a first, you’ll be able to major in artificial intelligence at CMU

Aaron Aupperlee
| Thursday, May 10, 2018 9:27 a.m
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The CHIMP robot, designed and built by a team from Carnegie Mellon University, demonstrates its skills with a drill Saturday, June 6, 2015, during the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge in Pomona, Calif. The robot finished in third place, earning a $500,000 prize.
FILE - This March 19, 2013, file photo shows the iCub robot trying to catch a ball during the Innorobo European summit, an event dedicated to the service robotics industry, in Lyon, central France. The iCub robot, created by the Italian Institute of Technology, is used for research into human cognition and artificial intelligence. Robots and artificial intelligence could create a near-dystopian income gap, kill all low-skill jobs, or have little impact over the next decade. That according to nearly 2,000 experts surveyed for a new study from Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)

The birthplace of artificial intelligence is now the first university in the nation to offer an undergraduate degree in the field.

Carnegie Mellon University, where computer science pioneers wrote the first AI computer program in 1956, will offer a new major in artificial intelligence this fall.

“Specialists in artificial intelligence have never been more important, in shorter supply or in greater demand by employers,” Andrew Moore, dean of CMU’s School of Computer Science, said in a statement. “Carnegie Mellon has an unmatched depth of expertise in AI, making us uniquely qualified to address this need for graduates who understand how the power of AI can be leveraged to help people.”

Moore was not on campus Thursday. He was at the White House with CMU President Farnam Jahanian attending a summit on artificial intelligence with high-level tech executives.

The AI bachelor’s degree program will put a strong emphasis on ethical questions surrounding artificial intelligence and using it for social good. Students will have the opportunity to study how AI can benefit areas like transportation, health care and education. Moore has expressed concern that too many of CMU’s computer science graduates are going to companies pursuing entertainment and not into jobs to make the world a better place.

The artificial intelligence undergraduate program will combine CMU’s acclaimed computer science courses with AI-related classes on statistics and probability, computational modeling, machine learning and symbolic computation. Students in the School of Computer Science can start the AI program in their second year. The program can handle 30 to 35 students each year.

Reid Simmons, a research professor of robotics and computer science, will be the director of the new program.

“It’s an opportunity for us to shape what it means to be a degree program in AI, as opposed to offering courses related to AI,” Simmons said in a statement. “We want to be the first to offer an AI undergraduate degree. I’m sure we won’t be the last. AI is here to stay.”

CMU was ranked as the top graduate program for artificial intelligence by U.S. News and World Report. The university offers PhDs in machine learning, robotics, human-computer interaction and language technology, which focus on different aspects of artificial intelligence.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff reporter. You can contact Aaron at 412-320-7986, or via Twitter .

Categories: Technology
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