South Dakota Tech News
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Phone: (605) 394-6082/2554 • Fax: (605) 394-6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2004
Contact: Steve Buchholz, Public Information Manager, 394-6082
Artificial Intelligence To Improve Student Learning
South Dakota Tech researchers have received $75,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop software that will improve the skills of Tech students to study and recognize micrographs, pictures of microscopic features within materials that are used to characterize materials in many different ways.
“Students do not get exposed to enough opportunities to learn how to recognize the features within a micrograph, and they are often required to do this when hired as a metallurgist,” Dr. Alan Anderson said. Anderson is an instructor and research scientist in the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering.
Anderson, Dr. John Weiss, associate professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Dr. Glen Stone, professor, Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, plan to use pattern recognition with neural networks or other artificial intelligence algorithms to automatically identify regions in a micrograph. The automatic identification of these regions will then be used to help students learn how to identify the regions themselves. The project funding runs through March 2006.
“We plan to improve each student's ability to recognize common microstructures by providing them more opportunities than typically possible in a class or laboratory,” Anderson said. “Additionally, we want to develop some fundamental techniques for automatically characterizing some micrographs.”
The researchers are initially focusing on steel because it is one of the most commonly used materials.
“For students, it is important to understand how to recognize features within micrographs,” Anderson said. “This requires an understanding of the material and its phase transformations, but it also requires the opportunity to study many different micrographs showing the different ways a similar phase might appear. This project will help give the student opportunities to see many different micrographs and have the system explain to them what it is they are seeing. This has a direct impact on their learning during school and a direct impact on their ability to get good jobs after graduation.” The project also could provide a new mechanism for characterizing micrographs that could be commercialized and applied to industrial settings.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.