Fulton Schools and Yonsei University bring South Korean students to ASU for a two-week cross-cultural AI course

Yonsei University exchange students (2024) in front of The Victorian structure, ASU’s first historical building.

The Fulton Schools and a South Korea-based university recently wrapped up their 2024 artificial intelligence, or AI, and machine learning, or ML, short course. The course was attended by 20 graduate students from Yonsei University in South Korea.

This rigorous two-week program provided an immersive education in AI, exploring topics like natural language processing, computer vision, reinforcement learning and accelerator design. The intensive course allowed students to gain broad exposure to AI research while collaborating on projects.

The exchange facilitated valuable cultural experiences through campus tours, lab visits and social activities. Participants gained insider industry perspectives from expert guest speakers across leading Arizona technology companies.

Yonsei University exchange students (2024) in front of The Victorian structure, ASU’s first historical building.

Tzuiunn Ong, a doctoral student in artificial intelligence, remarked on his experience, “My greatest takeaway from the SU program is gaining insights into the functioning of laboratories here, which differs significantly from practices in Asia. Understanding the selection process for new lab members and observing the interactions among current members has been enlightening. Experiencing the Western American style of academia has also been invaluable, offering a different perspective on academic culture. Overall, it’s been eye-opening to witness these differences firsthand and broaden my understanding of global research practices in AI.”

Sein Kwon, another attendee pursuing her master’s degree in computer science, added, “The experience of interacting with diverse researchers during the program was invaluable, as it’s not common to have such opportunities in Korea. Engaging with researchers from various subjects provided a unique perspective and enriched my understanding. While my research focuses on database optimization, learning about topics like MRP, reinforcement learning and computer vision was enlightening. Overall, I believe exposure to a wide range of subjects enhances the program’s value, especially for students with diverse research interests.”

Yonsei exchange student (2024) poses for a picture after a site visit with qBotica. 

The significance of the industry site visits, expert panel discussions and applied lab visits to various AI-related facilities proved vital to the experience. Each visit offered a unique opportunity for Yonsei University students to immerse themselves in cutting-edge research and development within the field of AI and ML.

Visits and industry connections were fostered through events including:

  • Company site visits to qBotica and Axon, which enriched the students’ understanding by exposing them to real-world applications of AI in industry settings. 
  • The Ask an Expert Industry Panel which included industry representatives Aaron Eden of Intuit, Brandon Wilson of Steadynamic, DeWitt Gibson of KPMG, Harish Krishnamurthy of Pragmatic Data and Jake Taylor of The Connective.
  • A visit to the Battery Electric & Intelligent Vehicle Lab, led by Dr. Junfeng Zhao, which provided invaluable insights into the advancements of autonomous vehicle technologies, essential for understanding the future of transportation. 
  • A visit to the Autonomous Agents and Intelligent Robots (AAIR) Lab, under the guidance of Dr. Srivastava and Mehdi Dadvar, which offered a glimpse into the intricate world of intelligent robotics that are shaping the future of automation and human-robot interaction. 
  • A visit to the Robotics for People (R4P) Lab, led by Dr. Nakul Goplan, and the Locomotion Research facility overseen by Dr. Thurmon Lockhart, which provided hands-on experiences in interdisciplinary AI research, fostering collaboration and innovation across various domains. 

The course content provided new dimensions to students’ educational perspectives and cultural exchange. As Minwoo Yu, a doctoral student in artificial intelligence, noted, “From the cultural aspect of the program, the experience of visiting the Grand Canyon was undeniably breathtaking, yet I found more value in connecting with graduate students at the school. Engaging in conversations with fellow students during events like the welcome reception dinner and the Korean student event provided meaningful experiences. The connections made and the conversations shared were enriching, offering insights and perspectives that I couldn’t have gained solely from tourist attractions. Moreover, the unique experience of riding an autonomous bus, while slow, was a special moment that highlighted the differences between cultures and left a lasting impression on all of us.”

Yonsei exchange student (2024) poses for a picture after a site visit of ASU Polytechnic Campus Laboratories 

Through technical lectures, hands-on learning, industry exposure and cultural sharing, the ASU-Yonsei collaboration demonstrated how united efforts across borders can propel innovations in machine intelligence. It helped form inspirational connections for these students that will enrich cross-pollination of ideas to solve pressing problems back home.

Programs like this underscore the immense value of global partnerships in education. Bringing together curious young minds from different nations to learn alongside local experts fosters remarkable creativity. 

Yonsei University exchange students (2024) in front of The Grand Canyon sign.

As one Yonsei attendee concluded, “This experience expanded my thinking in ways I never imagined. I’m going back to Korea with a wealth of new knowledge and motivation to drive advancements in AI from my unique cultural lens. I also formed friendships with brilliant colleagues abroad that I know will lead to impactful collaborations for years to come.”