Gainesville is known around the nation and the world for many things. Now, artificial intelligence prowess is on that list.
A $100 million private-public partnership between the University of Florida and NVIDIA, a multinational technology company, has already resulted in UF assembling the most powerful AI supercomputer in higher education. In April 2021, that partnership produced a notable accomplishment: GatorTron™, an artificial intelligence natural language processing model that accelerates research and medical decision-making by extracting insights from massive volumes of clinical data with unprecedented speed and clarity.
Until now, much of the medical information that is valuable to researchers and physicians has been buried deep in the full-text notes of patient records. Accessing that information is time consuming and labor intensive.
By training GatorTron™ to understand the language of these records and recognize complex medical terms, UF Health researchers and NVIDIA developers created a way to unlock that information quickly and easily. Researchers expect to use GatorTron™ to speed up the development of medical applications and doctors will deploy it for clinical decision support, UF Health officials said.
GatorTron™ is just one way the artificial intelligence and machine learning, a branch of AI, are being used throughout campus. UF students from any major can now pursue a certificate in AI Fundamentals and Applications, which teaches them the basics of artificial intelligence. Students get the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, its applications to real-world problems in various disciplines, and ethical and professional responsibilities of these technologies.
Elsewhere on campus, researchers from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the department of Electrical & Computer Engineering are testing ways to use AI to reduce food waste. Ultimately, they hope to find a more precise way to test food freshness that will benefit farmers and consumers alike. At UF Health, researchers recently used machine learning to identify specific strains of gut microbiota that can lead to a combination of depression and hypertension.
UF is also spurring innovation with its Artificial Intelligence Research Catalyst Fund. In late 2020, $1 million was used to fund 20 grants aimed at developing AI solutions for health, agriculture, engineering and educational challenges. They include using AI to identify biomarkers that will facilitate early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Another project involves using machine learning to track past and present land use patterns in Florida to simulate future impacts of anticipated changes in land development.
AI is even being used to pack more flavor into fruit: A computer can now tell UF scientists what strawberries taste and smell like — and, therefore, whether a variety is worth more genetic breeding efforts.
From improving lifesaving medical diagnosis to identifying counterfeit computer chips, AI research at UF is blazing a path toward unprecedented innovation and a better quality of life for people in Florida and across the planet.