PVAMU’s Research Partnership Wins National Science Foundation’s HBCU Collaboration Grant

Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) and Texas Southern University (TSU) are collaborators on a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The project is called Excellence in Research: Collaborative Research: Strengthen the Foundation of Big Data Analytics via Interdisciplinary Research among HBCUs.

“Our teams have joined forces to enhance the research capabilities of PVAMU and TSU and enrich the learning environment for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students in the big data analytics research field,” said Associate Professor of Computer Science Dr. Lei Huang, who is serving as PVAMU’s principal investigator on the project.

Each team has faculty members, post-doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students from computer science, mathematics, and physics departments participating in the three-year project. The goal is developing an innovative deep learning software package. (Deep learning is the latest breakthrough in artificial intelligence inspired by the structure of the human brain.)

“More specifically, the teams will conduct interdisciplinary research to visualize and open the black box of deep neural networks to unveil the mysteries of the recent success of artificial intelligence. The work with help research and industrial communities to better understand and explain the ‘magic power’ of deep neural networks with the theory of modern physics. We will enhance the mathematical foundation of artificial intelligence, increase the computation efficiency of the deep learning with new scalable algorithms, and implement our research into a new deep learning software package and deploy in the Cloud Computing and High-Performance Computing platforms,” said Huang.

Moreover, research will be integrated into courses in PVAMU’s computer science department to provide students with a broader view of the subjects.

“The collaboration between these two Houston-area HBCU institutions will expand research horizons and expose our students to the state-of-art interdisciplinary knowledge and experience, which will be important to their future careers,” said Huang. “The research should inspire and attract more students in underrepresented minority groups to pursue higher education in the STEM field.”

By Marchita Shilo