In today’s technological landscape, the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) is shifting paradigms and redefining possibilities across all aspects of life. The application of AI offers near-limitless capabilities that foster innovation and drive progress. To harness this powerful technology, the UCI ANTrepreneur Center is excited to announce their new AI Innovation Challenge for Fall Quarter 2023. 

Following the success of the ANTrepreneur Center’s Mental Health and Sustainability Innovation Challenges, the AI Innovation Challenge invites UCI undergraduate students to form teams with UCI graduate students and faculty and come together to explore the various ways that AI can solve real-world problems and improve lives. Through workshops, access to mentorship, and other themed programming, challenge participants will acquire AI competencies while strengthening their entrepreneurial spirit and problem-solving skills.

“Our students are the architects of tomorrow, and we want to equip them with the tools to shape the future today,” says Ryan Foland, Director of the ANTrepreneur Center. “The AI Innovation Challenge is more than a competition—it’s a platform that propels these bright minds into action, a support system that fosters their intellectual growth. By enabling students to tap into their innate creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, we are not only unlocking the door to the future but also empowering them to turn the key.”

In addition to familiarizing students with AI technologies, a central focus of the AI Innovation Challenge is cross-campus collaboration, diversity, and inclusion. According to Tom Andriola, UCI Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Data and Chief Digital Officer:

“AI is a leap toward the future–and we need cross-disciplinary collaboration to unlock its potential. No one School or program can define the impact AI will have at UC Irvine. It has to be a team sport–with all of us working together to drive innovation. I’m so excited to see our campus community embrace the opportunity and show us the way.”

Dr. Terence Sanger (CHOC Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, UCI Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Dept. Pediatrics Vice Chair for Research at the UCI School of Medicine, CHOC Director of Child Neurology and Movement Disorders) adds:

“CHOC Research is excited to support the AI Innovation Challenge. Lifespan research provides a much broader perspective and opens up many new avenues for scientific inquiry and opportunities to collaborate. I think that that is one of the important objectives of this new initiative—to foster and promote collaboration among institutions, students, investigators, patients, and clinicians for maximum impact.” 

With this in mind, the challenge welcomes UCI undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty from all backgrounds, majors, and skill levels. Once formed, teams will have access to mentorship and support as they develop their AI-based solutions. These solutions will fall under one of three tracks: AI in Storytelling and Entertainment, AI in Health Impact, and AI in Student Experiences.

AI in Storytelling and Entertainment

This track, sponsored by UCI Beall Applied Innovation (BAI), asks students to explore the intersection of AI technology and the art of storytelling. Participants are encouraged to push the boundaries of creativity and narrative innovation with techniques that leverage AI to empower the human creator to enhance and expand their work product and art. Entries in this track can include but are not limited to: 

  • Digital Tools and Products: AI Tools and platforms for digital content creation (Pre/Prod/Post), curation, and distribution.
  • Virtual Worlds: Tools and approaches that enable the architecture and building of real and imagined virtual worlds.
  • Storytelling: AI-assisted storytelling techniques, including generative storytelling, interactive narratives, and personalized content consumed across platforms.
  • Conversational Interfaces: AI conversational agents and interfaces for storytelling, gaming, and other interactive media experiences.
  • Production Localization: AI tools that enable workflows for local and hyper localization of live and scripted media (human-in-the-loop acceptable).

Speaking on BAI’s sponsorship of this track, Stuart Mathews, Director of Industry Alliances at BAI, notes:

“We are excited to be a part of this competition and support students as they familiarize themselves with AI technologies and develop AI competencies that will be useful for their future endeavors. For the AI in Storytelling and Entertainment track, we want to encourage students to think outside the box. The worlds of entertainment and gaming span disciplines from social science and humanities to science and engineering. AI innovations in Storytelling may include a project that composes music transcending cultural boundaries, a technology that personalizes a child’s reading experience, or tools that revolutionize the way we engage with legal narratives. The possibilities are really limitless, and we are eager to see what students come up with in this space.”

AI in Health Impact

This track, sponsored by UCI Health and Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Research Institute, encourages teams to examine the current state of the medical system and develop solutions to empower patients, identify and reduce health risks in the community, and optimize healthcare services. Students interested in this track should consider the following questions:

  • What changes must be made to medicine in order to have maximum impact on individuals and the community?
  • How can we improve the measurement of patient-reported outcomes, such as health-related quality of life, functional status, symptoms and symptom burden, health behaviors, and the patient health care experience?
  • How can we as a community utilize AI to better identify areas for risk reduction and health promotion interventions among patients?
  • How can AI support the diagnosis of diseases, provide roadmaps for safer surgeries, tap into predictive technologies to guide individual treatment plans, and shrink the distance between patients and providers/clinicians?
  • How can we optimize the practice of medicine within hospitals, ERs, and clinics in order to have the greatest impact on what matters most to our patients, families, and communities?

AI in Student Experiences

This track, sponsored by UCI Student Affairs, UCI Student Life and Leadership, Associated Students of UCI, UCI Office of Information Technology, and UCI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Data and Information and Technology, focuses on enhancing the university journey for students through the power of AI. Participants will delve into areas that deeply impact student life and beyond. This track aims to optimize the student experience, empowering students to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. Through AI-driven innovation, entries in this track should aspire to create a more inclusive, connected, and enriching campus environment for all. Entries in this track can include but are not limited to: 

  • Experiences Outside of Classroom: Exploration and learning opportunities that occur outside the formal educational settings such as field trips, workshops, and internships.
  • Well-being and Mental Health: Initiatives or resources aimed at promoting and supporting the mental health and overall well-being of students.
  • Solutions for Student Organizations: Innovative tools or strategies designed to enhance the operation and effectiveness of student-led organizations.
  • Enhancing Campus Resources: Ideas to upgrade and optimize existing campus resources, potentially incorporating technology enhancements or improved facility management strategies.
  • Artistic and Creative Expression: Projects or platforms fostering a vibrant artistic and creative community on campus through workshops, exhibitions, or similar initiatives.

The AI Innovation Challenge will conclude at the end of Fall Quarter with an exciting finals event and awards ceremony. At this event, $51,000 in prizes will be distributed to the top three finalists in each track. The top teams in each track will receive $10,000, the second-place teams will win $5,000, and the third-place teams will win $2,000.

Join the AI Innovation Challenge

The AI Innovation Challenge welcomes students from all years, majors, backgrounds, and skill levels. Undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty are invited to sign up for the kickoff event on Monday, October 16, 2023, from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the UCI ANTrepreneur Center via CampusGroups.

The ANTrepreneur Center is currently looking for mentors, speakers, judges, and sponsors to support the AI Innovation Challenge. If you are interested in participating, or know someone who might be interested in participating, please fill out or share the interest forms below:

Event Partners and Sponsors

The AI Innovation Challenge is made possible thanks to support from: the UCI Office of Data and Information Technology, UCI Office of Information Technology, UCI Beall Applied Innovation (BAI), UCI Health, the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, UCI Health, UCI Student Affairs, UCI Student Life and Leadership, Associated Students of UCI (ASUCI), Blackstone LaunchPad, Siemens, Mendix, Amazon Web Services (AWS), UCI Division of Undergraduate Education, and UCI Graduate Division. 

If you are interested in sponsoring this event, fill out this form for additional information. 

Conclusion and Additional Information

The AI Innovation Challenge encapsulates the essence of collaboration and the promise of AI. It is initiatives like these that ensure UCI continues to stand at the forefront of AI education and innovation, inspiring the next generation of thinkers, innovators, and leaders. We wholeheartedly invite everyone to support, engage with, and bear witness to the groundbreaking ideas that will emerge from this challenge. Together, we can dive headfirst into the world of AI and harness its limitless potential to shape our future.

Register for the AI Innovation Challenge today on CampusGroups!

For more information and FAQs, visit the AI Innovation Challenge webpage.

Stay tuned for more updates regarding the AI Innovation Challenge. Visit the UCI ANTrepreneur Center website for additional information on services, programming, and opportunities to get involved. Keep up with the latest news from the ANTrepreneur Center on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.