October 15, 2023

McNair Research Update: Students Use AI to Help Local Industries

The McNair Institute of Research and Service aims to cultivate connections between academic research and the local community. McNair Research Fellow, Dr. Ivan Dungan, and his student researchers have been an exceptional example of this in their work with AI and machine learning to better help industries predict customer needs and behaviors. 

During the summer of 2023, Dr. Dungan worked with two student researchers. Mr. Eli Hellmig and Mr. Jake Reeder are both double majoring seniors in Mathematics along with Computational Physics and Computer Science, respectively. Dr. Dungan made connections between the research project and real-world skill development, emphasizing that “They both made significant progress especially since they had to learn a lot of the methods they were using in real-time, and then try to advance the methods in a seven week project”.

Beginning in fall 2023, a new student researcher, Ms. Bhakti Patel, also a double majoring senior in Mathematics and Computer Science, has been continuing work on this project with Dr. Dungan. 

This research can ultimately benefit various community institutions and actors by making otherwise expensive technological tools more accessible, and enhancing the community’s ability to compete with larger industry leaders. This work also allows for greater oversight of AI, more generally, in order to diminish its possible misuse and improve its overall effectiveness. The use of real world data in Dr. Dungan’s work creates an environment where AI can be truly tested and refined. The combination of applied research with experiential learning and professional development for FMU students is at the heart of the McNair mission, and we can’t wait to see where this research goes next.

For more information on current and future projects please contact Dr. Dungan via email or follow us @McNairInstituteFMU.