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Welcome to the UCL AI Society

· 4 min read
Martynas Pocius
Jess Tsang

Hello and welcome to the very first UCL AI Society blogpost of the year!

My name is Jessica and I’m so excited to be your Creative Director this year 😄, You’ll be hearing from me every week about the AI buzz and news on the society, and any upcoming events you should bookmark in your calendar, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the society blog to stay updated 📚️.

With the introductions out of the way, today’s blog post is for all our new members and getting you up-to-date on what this is all about. First of all, massive congratulations on getting into UCL! That is no small feat, and we’re so glad you were able to join us in not-so-sunny London 🌧️ (it gets better in February, trust). Secondly, congratulations on having excellent taste in societies, and frankly, joining the best one out there. We promise you’re going to have a good time.

Since our inception, the UCL AI Society has grown massively, and we’re proud to say that we are one of the most prolific student societies at UCL. We’d like to think it’s because we have something for everyone, even for those who aren’t compsci students or know how to code! Artificial intelligence is something that will affect everyone in the years to come, regardless of who you are, and as a result, we believe our society should be accessible and relevant to all pathways and disciplines. We hope the AI society can be your place to explore your interests, build long-lasting relationships and make memories for life. Some of the social events you can get involved in are our iconic Thursday Pizza Socials 🍕 (free pizza for all!), speaker events with world-renowned researchers 🧑‍🏫, tutorials 💻️, cross-university networking events 🧑‍🤝‍🧑, and more.

We also have programs running on a larger scale for those of you who want to improve your own skills, dip into research or begin a start-up. For research, we have the Nexus Labs project 🧑‍💻, which is an interdisciplinary initiative for students to engage in one of five academic pillars: Neuroscience, NLP, Finance, Machine Vision and Responsible AI ✏️. Within each pillar, teams will have a specialist on board to explore a question with the aim of publishing a research paper at the end of the project.

For those of you wanting to explore the world of entrepreneurship, we have the UCL AI Foundry 📈, our incubator for budding AI businesses. Upon joining Foundry, you’ll be given guidance, support and advice throughout the project from assigned mentors. At the end, you’ll be given an opportunity to pitch your start-up to a panel of investors who can help your business take off.

And finally, our biggest event of the year: ClimateHack.AI 🌎️, our society hackathon which brings together 25 leading universities to solve some of our climate’s most pressing problems.

This year, ClimateHack.AI is helping to solve the issue of solar nowcasting ☀️, essentially helping us optimise solar panels as solar power is highly variable considering weather conditions. By building better solar photovoltaic nowcasting, we’re able to help derisk the deployment of solar power and encourage its use in energy grids around the world. In the UK alone, this could help us reduce 100,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Around the world, there would be a reduction of 50 to 100 million tonnes of carbon.

For ClimateHack.AI 2022, we focused on satellite imagery nowcasting 🛰️ and managed to build a model 3.5x more accurate than the one being used by the National Grid Electricity System Operator (NG-ESO). As a result, we know the impact ClimateHack.AI has, and we’ve seen the good it can do. For ClimateHack.AI 2023, we encourage you to participate if this is something that catches your eye! We can’t make a tangible impact without your help, and the hackathon has been some of our previous members’ favourite part of the society, so we guarantee it’ll be a good time. You’ll be able to meet like-minded individuals, expand your network and career opportunities, and have a shot at our prize pool with a grand first prize of £15,000 💰️!

Ultimately, as you can probably see, UCL AI Society is packed full of different events happening every week, and as your committee, we’re dedicated to making sure this society provides everything possible to help you thrive both personally and professionally 🫡. Regardless, we hope we’ll see you in some of these events once the school year starts up, and as always, feel free to reach out with any questions.

See you next week! 👋