KTU established a €10,000 prize fund for students whose final projects focus on AI

Important | 2021-04-20

Artificial intelligence (AI) is receiving more and more public attention – we use smart technologies both at home and at work, business and the state invest in AI specialists. To encourage the students to choose the final projects’ topics, which are related to analysing AI applications, KTU has established a 10-thousand-euro prize fund. The authors of the best projects will be awarded one-time targeted scholarships.

The competition is open to undergraduate, postgraduate and professional studies students who analyse artificial intelligence in their final projects. The authors of the best final projects will be selected by the board of experts and will be awarded one-time targeted scholarships amounting to 1 thousand euros.

To participate in the competition, the student’s final project will have to meet the following criteria: the topic is important for society or business, and the work is innovative and applicable.

Jonas Čeponis, KTU
Jonas Čeponis, KTU Vice-Rector for Studies

“Artificial intelligence has been one of the most widely discussed topics in recent years. How will it change the world, and in what direction will it develop? At the University, we aim for our KTU students not only to keep pace with the most relevant technological innovations of today but also to be the creators of these technologies and the innovation leaders. We encourage our students not only to wait for changes but also to participate in changes themselves. That’s why we established a 10,000-euro fund, which will be used to award the authors of the best final projects analysing the topics related to artificial intelligence applications”, says Jonas Čeponis, Vice-Rector for Studies at KTU.

Robots are a great alternative for routine work

Currently in Lithuania, more than 40 companies are operating, which link their activities to the development of AI products. According to Agnė Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė, the Head of the KTU Artificial Intelligence Centre, AI systems are being integrated into more and more areas. In comparison to human labour, such systems are more efficient and accurate in performing routine tasks, and jobs, which can be easily defined by tasks, and are relatively uncomplicated. There is no doubt that the use of AI will continue growing rapidly and transforming the job market.

Agnė Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė, KTU
Agnė Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė, Head of KTU Artificial Intelligence Centre

“In the future, many robotic assistants will work not only in industry but also in the household – we already have automatic hoovers, window washers, grass cutters and other robots. However, the demand for specialists who can operate, repair, maintain and build new such smart machines will remain and grow”, says Paulauskaitė-Trarasevičienė, one of the members of the experts’ board assessing the final projects participating in the competition.

However, she notes that the process of integration and modernisation of AI in Lithuania is slightly slower in comparison to other countries, due to the small market and financial capacity. International companies operating in Lithuania integrate AI technologies that perform routine work, and automated solutions are also being sought to shorten the time needed to complete a certain task, to reduce the likelihood of human error and the cost of retaining employees.

“Relocating jobs to cheap labour countries is less popular today. The era of digitisation and artificial intelligence offers alternative solutions – process automation and the application of artificial intelligence technologies. All jobs that can be robotised, i.e. the tasks, the sequence of which can be easily defined by clear rules, will soon be optimised in Lithuania as well”, she says.

There is a shortage of AI specialists in Europe

In Europe and around the world, the inclusion of AI topics in studies is becoming increasingly popular. Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė says that although previously AI topics were more of a subject for doctoral research at KTU, now AI courses are also included in undergraduate and master’s studies.

At the University, we aim for our KTU students not only to keep pace with the most relevant technological innovations of today but also to be the creators of these technologies and the innovation leaders.

– Jonas Čeponis, KTU Vice-Rector for Studies

KTU, as a leading university, possessing extensive experience in research in the AI field, offers the first BSc study programme in Artificial Intelligence in Lithuania.

“Every year, more and more products appear on the global market that promote AI opportunities, and companies in our country have been following such innovations lately, trying to keep up and sometimes setting new trends with their AI ideas and solutions. It is these companies that broadcast the message quite loudly and clearly – “there is a great demand for AI specialists in the market”. Retraining a general profile IT specialist as an AI specialist is time-consuming, and one must be interested in learning and delving into rather complex AI algorithms”, says the Head of KTU Artificial Intelligence Centre.

According to Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė, the prize fund established by KTU is one of the means to encourage students to analyse the AI methods applied in their field.

“We are talking about students in all study programmes because the application of AI is relevant and useful for representatives of various fields: translators, economists, chemists, mechanics and others. Although every year there is a growing number of students interested in AI topics, this prize fund is a great incentive for new students to start taking an interest in the application of AI in their speciality, and for those who already have AI knowledge to delve deeper into this field and get involved in research”, says Paulauskaitė-Tarasevičienė.