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Students are at the center of hands-on learning at NDSU. These are just a few examples from current students’ experiences.


‘Stay up to date with what’s new’

NDSU’s innovative minor in artificial intelligence allows students to broaden their understanding of AI, prepares them on how and where it can be used and provides practical hands-on experience in utilizing various AI techniques. 

The minor, which was launched last fall by the computer science department, is open to students majoring in computer science, as well as students in other departments who want to learn more about the rapidly developing technology. 

Ian King, a junior computer science major, chose to add the minor since it compliments his major and is something he’s been interested in learning more about. 

“Seeing that it was provided and that AI boomed very quickly, I decided that it would be beneficial for setting myself up for my career,” said King, who is from West Fargo.  

King has been enjoying his introduction to AI class and working with faculty in the department.

“It’s been pretty good so far. It was a very quick and easy process to get into the minor. Now that I’m taking some of the classes it’s been very fun, very interesting,” he said. “The faculty’s always nice. I know a lot of them so if I ever have questions, I’m able to go over to them openly.”

Anne Denton, NDSU professor of computer science, said the need for the minor was not only determined within the computer science department, but also from other departments across campus.

“From my perspective, the thing that is special about AI in comparison with computer science in general is that so many people need it in so many fields even if they don’t have the classic coding or software engineering background,” she said. “Satisfying that need for a foundation in AI was both very important to us and the request has been made from other departments that their students really want it.”

The minor offers courses in mathematical and computational foundations and a specific course centered on AI. Additionally, students take an elective that can either be drawn from courses offered in the computer science department or any other department that has broadened its machine learning and artificial intelligence offerings in recent years. Students must take 19 semester hours of computer science courses and a minimum of eight credits must be earned in residence at NDSU.

Outside of the classroom undergraduates have the opportunity to work alongside faculty members who are conducting research related to AI. 

Students can also participate in the Byte-le Royale, a 12-hour programming competition where students compete to write an AI to play a video game. The competition is hosted by NDSU's chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. 

AI itself is a very broad and diverse field, and includes anything from machine learning, neural networks, evolutionary computation, vision, robotics, expert systems, speech processing, natural language processing and planning. 

King wants to learn more about how AI can be used to simplify and enhance some of the day-to-day tasks to help people save time.

“An example of that is whenever you’re working in Microsoft Word and it tries to autofill a word that you’re typing. I think that’s awesome because it can be helpful,” King said. 

Simone Ludwig, professor and chair of computer science, said having the AI minor is needed as students enter today’s workforce.  

“AI seems to be used everywhere so having graduates equipped with this knowledge is paramount,” she said. 

After he graduates, King wants to pursue a career in software engineering with the goal of incorporating AI into his job. Ludwig said other common careers that utilize AI include software developers, data scientists, machine learning engineers and AI research scientists.

King recommends the minor to anyone wanting to learn more about AI. 

“If you are willing to explore new technologies, this would be a good way to do it,” he said. “AI just recently started booming so it’s good to get into it, especially if you’re entering the technology field and you have to stay up to date with what’s new.” 

Apply now to start your path to success or schedule a visit to explore what NDSU has to offer. 



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