Tech Tuesday: A.I. & Machine Learning

Dr. Whitney Stoppel from UF’s Chemical Engineering Department discusses the department’s programs and its use of AI and machine learning in research.
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Happy Tech Tuesday. I’m Melanie Moron with UF Innovate. And today joining me is Dr. Whitney Stoppel with UF Chemical Engineering Department. Dr. Stoppel, thank you so much for joining us today.

Yeah. Thanks so much for having me.

So tell us about UF’s Chemical Engineering Department.

So the Chemical Engineering Department at UF has three-degree programs. Undergraduate students can get a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, and then we have two graduate programs, a master’s program, and a Ph.D. program.

How is your program using AI and machine learning in research?

Yeah. So, there’s a lot of different ways that we can use AI and machine learning in chemical engineering. The most important way is in our data analysis. So being able to think about these large data sets that we have and being able to quantitatively understand what is happening within these data sets. So for example, in my lab, we take a lot of images. So these images are of tissues and materials and how those cells and materials are interacting. And when we’re trying to understand how cells and materials interact, we can actually use machine learning to analyze the different types of cells that have crawled into these materials and think about how blood vessels have started to form and be able to quantify how the formulation of that material actually drives these biological responses.

And how is AI and machine learning changing chemical engineering?

So one of the really cool ways that I think AI and machine learning are going to have an impact in the field of chemical engineering is the design and the development of new materials. So right now, we can design a new polymer or create a new material, but we have to go through a variety of different tests to really understand whether or not that material is going to be the best material for a given application. And with the new advancements in AI, we may be able to think about intelligently designing materials from the get-go that have certain features that really allow us to solve current challenges.

Well, Dr. Stoppel, thanks again for talking to us today.

Yeah, thanks so much. It’s been excellent to be here.

And that’s a wrap for Tech Tuesday. We’ll see you next week.

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