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AZ Tech Beat | May 26, 2017

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UA’s iSchool receives $2.3M to start artificial intelligence project

UA’s iSchool receives $2.3M to start artificial intelligence project
Ryan Loebe

The University of Arizona’s School of Information (a.k.a. iSchool) just announced they won $2.3 million to start a research project that aims to test artificial intelligence in the form of a jazz-playing robot. UA professor and associate director of the iSchool, Kelland Thomas, is leading the project.

The five-year project, dubbed Music Improvising Collaborative Agent, or MUSICA, has just been funded by a $2.3 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. MUSICA aims to create artificial intelligence that has the capability to collaborate with humans in real-time.

Thomas, who used to teach for the UA School of Music wanted to combine two of his expertise. “This project did really kind of combine two areas of my intellectual passions, it involves artificial intelligence and machine learning, but it also brings in my love of music and creative behavior,” Thomas said. “The idea was to use my background as a musician to try and help train or program a machine.”

While the goal of the program is to create jazz in real-time, long-term MUSICA could bring a new era of human-computer interactions. The team’s mission is to have computers be meaningful collaborators with humans, rather than assistants.

Read more coverage of the UA at AZ Tech Beat. 

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