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Microsoft Discover AI Upskilling Journey 2021: Democratizing Access to and Use of Artificial Intelligence Solutions Among Students and Young Professionals

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Microsoft Discover AI Upskilling Journey 2021: Democratizing Access to and Use of Artificial Intelligence Solutions Among Students and Young Professionals

From January to June 2021, students and young professionals from around the world embarked on Microsoft’s Discover AI Upskilling Journey to acquire or improve their artificial intelligence skills.
The bottom line? No technical skills required, the trip is open to everyone!
By registering for the Mini-Sprints or the Discover AI Challenge, participants had the opportunity to learn more about AI and concretely apply their knowledge through the development of innovative projects. In the end, the challenge resulted in a fun and enriching experience and clearly highlighted the creativity of young innovators in the world of AI.

MONTREAL, August 2, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) –

The most recent step of a journey in progress

Microsoft, known as one of the world’s most innovative companies, consistently strives to make the newest technologies accessible to everyone. The Microsoft Learn platform is a perfect example of this desire to democratize the use of digital solutions and give the general public the opportunity to acquire valuable new skills.

As one of the most modern and promising technologies on the market, AI has logically been one of Microsoft’s focus points in recent years and the group has undertaken numerous successful initiatives to foster understanding and utilization of this technology by of the public.

With the first edition of the Discover the AI ​​enhancement journey Launched in May 2020, Microsoft hoped to democratize the use of AI and provide participants, regardless of their academic background and technical skills, with the tools to discover AI in their own way.

The competition attracted more than 600 students and both jurors and mentors were dazzled by the quality and ingenuity of the projects presented. “I was always amazed by the creativity of the participants and how they applied the AI ​​concepts to various industries.” recalls Sarah Muma, Microsoft Cloud Solutions Architect and event judge.

In the face of such good results and enthusiasm from students, it was not a surprise when Microsoft announced that it would build on this success and launch the Second edition of the Discover AI Upskilling Journey.

The Discover AI Upskilling Journey # 2

Like the first edition, Upskilling Journey # 2 was designed to be a multi-step competition through which young participants could expand their knowledge of AI and gain practical experience in applying what they learned.

The challenge consisted of three parts:

  • four thematic “Mini-Sprints” of one month each, in which the participants had to complete specific modules of Microsoft Learn before developing short projects that show their learning.
  • the Discover AI Challenge, where participants had to create teams of up to four people and develop a project idea that integrated AI into one of four categories: Education, Health, Banking and Finance, and Sustainability. The teams were also asked to build a prototype with the help of their Microsoft trainer.
  • the Cloud Skills Challenge, which aimed to reward participants who earned the most experience points (XP) by completing Microsoft modules.

To go even further than last year and increase the participation and engagement of the Canadian student community, each Mini-Sprint was organized in collaboration with a dedicated group of students. “We had a wonderful time working with Microsoft and Agorize and we are pleased to have had the opportunity to support some of the incredible initiatives that their teams are leading.” said Cassi-Ann Hutchinson, president of the UW FinTech Club, who was deeply involved in reaching the fourth Mini-Sprint.

Rather than having access to numerous resources on the platform, all participants of the trip benefited from the active support of Microsoft trainers throughout the competition and had the opportunity to ask their questions during dedicated office hours.

They also received Industry-recognized Microsoft Pearson certifications, providing them with tangible proof to show their accomplishments and help them boost and / or boost their career.

The mini sprints

Numerous innovative projects were received in the scope of each mini-sprint, making it difficult for the judges to choose the winners. The four main evaluation criteria were the quality of the presentation, the quality of the content, the practical implications and the participation of the audience during the live presentation.

As an illustration of the creativity of the solutions developed by the participating teams, the project that won first place in the fourth Mini-Sprint on AI Ethics and Interpretability was AI creed – an iterative process to ensure that an AI solution only makes ethical decisions by creating a feedback response system that helps AI make ethical decisions early in the development cycle. In simpler words, an ingenious AI system for managing AI ethics.

“Although each final Mini-Sprint event was unique in that the topics discussed were never the same, the common thread was a fun atmosphere and the intelligence of the projects presented.” commented Wemba Opota, leader of business artificial intelligence solutions at Microsoft. “Far from reducing the commitment of participating teams, having a friendly and gamified approach to competition resulted in the creation of concrete AI-enabled solutions that problems of the world. “

While all entrants left with valuable AI expertise and new insights, the winners also received Microsoft Surface Go and Surface Pro tablets, as well as coupons for Microsoft Learn certifications and other Microsoft accessories.

Discover the final event of AI Challenge

During the Discover AI Challenge Grand Final that took place on June 30, 5 finalist teams had the opportunity to present their projects in one of the four categories mentioned above and answer related questions in front of a jury made up of experts from Microsoft and Agorize. They also had the opportunity to show their prototypes and provide attendees with a concrete visualization of their idea.

Due to the excellent quality of the projects presented, the juries had difficulty deciding between teams, but finally made a decision and chose AI dice – an artificial intelligence algorithm that predicts the final image quality of prostate cancer MRI scans, as the winner of the 2021 Discover AI Challenge.

“A special thanks to the participants, mentors, judges, and Agorize for making this Discover AI challenge an incredible success.” Wemba Opota said at the end of the event. “Once again, the creativity, ingenuity and technical relevance of the projects presented clearly highlight the possibilities and promise of the next generation of innovators. Can’t wait to see what’s next! “

The learning journey continues!

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/8ddf2b57-874c-4038-9bdd-6a0990c24d2e

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