Jennifer Giordano, a second year Ph.D. student in the Graduate Neuroscience Training Program and Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, greatly relies on the Rubin and Cindy Gruber Sandbox’s transformative technology. As a student researcher, Jennifer is using AI to study neurodegeneration and other topics in neuroscience. She is interested in drawing inspiration from concepts in neuroscience and thinking about how they can be applied to artificial systems. Below, Giordano explains how the collaborative, deep-learning space accelerates her research.
Q: What is unique about your research projects?
A: The projects I have been working on test some of the ways in which AI models can fail by presenting them with distorted inputs. By examining the failures of the models, we hope to shed some light on how artificial agents make decisions. Ultimately, we hope this information will allow us to build more robust networks that can be safely deployed in real-world situations. One limitation of AI models is that they lack the structure and hierarchy that the brain has in visual perception and rational decision-making.
Q: How does the Sandbox improve your research?
A: The Sandbox provides me with access to state-of-the-art equipment and tremendous computational power, which allows me to run experiments faster and more efficiently. It also provides a space to share ideas and collaborate with researchers from many different departments and backgrounds that all have a shared interest in AI.
Q: What skills or knowledge did you learn from working in the Sandbox?
A: I had limited exposure to AI and computational methods when I started working in the Sandbox. However, by attending the courses, colloquia, and working on research projects, I have learned a considerable amount about AI in a relatively short period of time.
Q: Is there a faculty member whom you conduct research within the Sandbox?
A: My primary research advisor is Assistant Professor William Hahn, Ph.D., and working with him has been a very fun and rewarding experience. I appreciate his ability to provide unique and insightful ideas that have led to innovative and exciting research projects.
Q: What do you enjoy about being a student researcher in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science?
A: I appreciate that the College has a substantial number of accomplished neuroscience faculty in a breadth of departments. The vibrant research culture and abundant opportunities to learn about the ongoing projects has exposed me to the latest developments and diverse perspectives in the field of neuroscience.
The Rubin and Cindy Gruber Sandbox is one of the nation’s first multi-disciplinary, cutting-edge AI labs located within a university library. The 3,400 square-foot space located on FAU’s S.E. Wimberly Library’s ground floor, is a collaborative, experimental space for students of all levels and disciplines, as well as faculty, staff and community members, to have the opportunity to directly engage with the rapidly advancing field of AI.