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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

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STEM Spotlight: Artificial Intelligence Clubs

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Edward Huang
Krish Arora (10) delivers a presentation on AI hyperparameters during an AI Club meeting on Nov 10. AI Club hoped to make the discussed concepts accessible to their audience.

Recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) have taken the world by storm — and that includes the upper school’s selection of AI-related clubs. Alongside the pre-existing AI Club, the Artificial Arts and Beats & Bytes clubs have joined the lineup for the 2023-2024 school year.

The Artificial Arts Club, advised by upper school physics teacher Dr. Mark Brada, aims to take a deep look into how AI-generated creativity manifests. Mimicking inherently human abilities, like making art, proves no easy task. Especially with such an experimental genre of technology, Artificial Arts Club Vice President Jonny Xue (11) emphasizes his interest in the unique topic, reflecting on the club’s establishment and its goals going forward.

“There’s a niche intersection between AI and arts that we want [to explore],” Jonny said. “We want to create a space where we can see how AI generates various forms of art and creative content.”

Another new AI-related club this year is Beats & Bytes Club, which focuses on generating music using AI technology. Though music and AI may seem like two separate concepts, Beats & Bytes Club Vice President Varun Thvar (11) finds himself immersed in the potential of merging the two. As a cellist in the upper school orchestra, Varun has always had a passion for music, and he looks forward to sharing that with others through the club.

“From the beginning of time when human civilization first started developing, one of our major aspects was tool-using, and this is another tool that we can use to express ourselves,” Varun said. “The aspects of combining the best of our emotion and the best of our nature with the best of technology is very interesting to me. I want to share what I enjoy with other people and get to know the people who like it too.”

Through guest speakers, interactive AI art, music-generating activities and future collaborations with other organizations, both clubs hope to gain a place within the wide arrangement of other clubs at the upper school.

“With AI, you’ll keep ramping up and there will be better tools,” Jonny said. “There’s always ongoing discussion of how AI-generated content intermingles with all this human content. We hope we can play a role in that burgeoning discussion.”

Last but not least is the previously established AI Club, advised by upper school computer science teacher Marina Peregrino. In its meetings, the club hopes to teach attendees about Python and how certain AI algorithms can be implemented in research. While these topics may intimidate students who are inexperienced in AI research, Peregrino hopes the club can also shed light on more underappreciated AI training models that not many people prioritize.

“If a cat comes and pees in my garden and stinks up the place, it gets my dog barking, so I would [want to] put on a sprinkler that recognizes the cat and scares the cat away,” Peregrino said. “It was a little bit of a joke, but a little bit true. You don’t have to find an exoplanet or speed up the diagnosis of a certain thing; it could also be something that’s useful in the garden.”

Though the AI Club isn’t new, Peregrino looks forward to possible collaborations with any other AI-related clubs in the future. At this rate, she emphasizes, AI can go anywhere.

“Pretty soon the AI will rate the AI for you, and that’s very interesting,” Peregrino said. “How much is it really going to stay hands-on like this, where you choose the algorithm, you choose the data and you put it together yourself? Our goal is still the same, to support students who want to use it. It doesn’t have to be for research, it could be for whatever project they want.”

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About the Contributors
Claire Zhao, Co-STEM Editor
Claire Zhao (11) is the co-stem editor for Harker Aquila and the Winged Post, and this is her third year on staff. This year, Claire hopes she can get to know everyone on the journalism staff and make her interviews more conversational and open. In her free time, she likes doing photography, collecting cute stationery and ranting about her favorite media.
Edward Huang, Winged Post Co-Managing Editor
Edward Huang (12) is a co-managing editor for the Winged Post, and this is his fourth year on staff. This year, Edward wants to continue creating unique designs for Winged Post while covering community events. In his free time, he likes to listen to music and go on runs.

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