The Lehigh Club Teaching Machine Learning

Machine Learning

Realizing there was a shortage of data science and machine learning clubs in Lehi, two students created their own space to fill the gap.

Co-Chairs Karthik Sivakumar (’21, ’23G) and Grant Armstrong (’21, ’23G) collaborated to create the Machine Learning Club through Fall 2022.

Computer Science and Engineering Chair Brian Davison says machine learning is the science of systems learning to come up with answers when given examples.

Since its first meeting on February 16, Armstrong said the Machine Learning Club has become a place for groups of more than 50 members to learn about machine learning and gain hands-on experience.

Armstrong said the club welcomes people of all backgrounds and experience levels.

“I felt that having a machine learning club would really help not only people with backgrounds in situations like ours, but also people without backgrounds and wanting to get in touch with it. said Armstrong.

Clubs consist of two main elements: a project-driven aspect and a learning and networking aspect.

Every Thursday, our graduate student mentors present machine learning topics ranging from linear regression to convolutional neural networks. Mentors help undergraduates with questions, troubleshooting, and projects.

Davison said he supports every opportunity for interaction between students, especially alumni and undergraduates.

“These are really great experiences for students,” said Davison. “I think it’s great for them to have a club like this that encourages other students to get involved and provides a sense of camaraderie.”

He believes undergraduates don’t fully understand how accessible graduate programs can be and how opportunities like mentorship in the Machine Learning Club can help.

Armstrong said the club’s project-driven component will allow members to market their individual machine learning projects to groups.

“It definitely bridges the gap between academics and work experience. If you want to learn something in class, want to do something, but don’t know where to start, this club can help.”

The club is brand new, so there’s only one project in the works. Armstrong works with engineers and project managers to create intelligent gameplay agents. He hopes the project will revolutionize game AI.

Armstrong encourages other members to pursue their own pitches through the club. Interested students can consult with members like Olugbodi, who wants to help young students improve their knowledge.

“If I had this club when I was a freshman, I would have gained more knowledge and experience in machine learning,” says Olugbodi.

Club secretary Danielle Picarello (’22, ’23G) said weekly attendance was lower than the club’s GroupMe members, but club participation and engagement was consistent.

After several meetings, Armstrong said the goal was to have more discussions at group gatherings. Sivakumar said he would also like to host his event for professorial talks and networking with Lehigh alumni in the field of machine learning.

“We had a lot of discussions at the end of the meeting,” said Sivakumar. “Everybody starts asking questions, and the more questions they ask, the more they understand.”

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