The AI Symposium aims to unite AI and data engineering experts in academia, industry and government around current issues and areas of collaboration where AI-driven tools are in demand due to big data issues, such as in health care, cyberthreats, quantum computing, sustainable agriculture and risk management.

“Data exist everywhere. The only question is how they are being structured, organized and analyzed for different purposes. No data analytics is possible without AI-guided tools, regardless of the sources of data,” said KC Santosh, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Computer Science and co-chair of the symposium organizers.

The AI Symposium will feature six well-known speakers from around the United States and Mexico. Speakers include the following:

  • Ullas Bagci, Ph.D., associate professor in the Northwestern University’s Radiology and Biomedical Engineering Department in Chicago, Illinois
  • Stephen P. Boyte, research geographer at the U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation & Science Center (EROS), Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Marzieh Khakifirooz, Ph.D., assistant professor at the School of Science and Engineering, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico
  • Scott Kravitz, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the physics division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California
  • Oge Marques, Ph.D., professor of engineering and computer science at Florida Atlantic University and advisor for the AI in Healthcare Interest Group in the College of Medicine
  • Cory Simon, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering at Oregon State University

“I’m excited to have USD’s first AI symposium with speakers from multiple domains highlighting the future of AI,” said Santosh. “AI is the future, and it is not too late to start. We are joining together for a better future.”

Symposium organizers include several departments in the College of Arts & Sciences, including the Departments of Computer Science, Mathematical Sciences, Sustainability & Environment, Physics, Biology and Chemistry.

“Mathematics is happy to help coordinate and promote the upcoming AI Symposium,” said Dan Van Peursem, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences and co-chair of the symposium organizers. “AI is one of the fastest growing fields in the data industry, and it is important we expose our students to what potential career opportunities are in this exciting new field.”

USD is home to South Dakota’s only programs in AI, preparing students for careers in data science and machine learning. The Department of Computer Science offers an undergraduate certificate and specialization and a graduate certificate and specialization, which focus on the development of AI tools for multiple purposes.

“Our AI programs at USD will contribute to preparing a workforce of young scientists who will maintain America's strategic position of command in science and engineering from South Dakota,” Santosh said.

The AI Symposium is free and open to anyone, but registration is required. To learn more about the symposium and to register, visit

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