Idea Phase

Phase Overview

During this phase, participating teams will submit a proposal (roughly two pages of text) describing their idea for leveraging artificial intelligence to address a specific issue faced in one of the four AI for Good pillars: education, environment, health, or humanitarianism.

Important dates for the Idea Phase of the Nittany AI Challenge include:

  • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, by 11:59 p.m. (ET) — Deadline to submit idea proposal via the Nittany AI Challenge Team Tool.
  • Wednesday, February 1, 2023 — Advancing teams will be announced.

Required Information

During this phase, all information will be submitted through the Team Tool. The team lead will need to collect the following information before completing the idea submission.

Team Information

Each participating team member will need to provide:

  • first and last name
  • Penn State user id
  • campus location
  • college affiliation
  • major
  • expected graduation

You will also need to know the following about your advisers and/or mentors:

  • name
  • title

Proposal Content

Problem Description

Teams must describe the problem they are striving to solve, as well as the context for that problem. This is the opportunity for proposers to describe the breadth and depth of the problem, as well as the potential connections between their issue and broad global issues. Proposers should articulate why the issue they are addressing is timely and important. (300 word maximum)

Proposed Solution Description

Each proposal must include a detailed explanation of the solution to the issue identified within the problem statement. This description should be focused on how the solution would work, who would use it, the ways in which end users would interact with it, the way in which it will directly address their issue, the feasibility of the solution, and an argument as to why it is a better solution than those currently used or available. Teams could also describe any related problems that may be solved by the same basic technical approach. Solutions with the potential for greater breadth and/or depth of impact will be more heavily weighted than those with limited impact. (300 word maximum)

Team Description/Capabilities 

Each proposal must include a section describing the capabilities of the proposer and team to develop the proposed solution. (300 word maximum)

Use of AI Technologies 

Each proposal must describe the approach the team will use to achieve its proposed solution, including the ways in which artificial intelligence will be used in that approach. Specifically, the proposal must identify the broad components of the AI platform(s) that will be leveraged in the solution. If space allows, the proposal may include explanations of technological approaches and development pathways toward the final development of a minimum viable product. Proposals should include a description of the necessary data and/or AI training to provide a better sense of additional resources needed to implement the idea. (300 word maximum)

Criteria for Review 

The following criteria will be used in the selection process for the Idea Phase of the Nittany AI Challenge. It will be advantageous to align your proposal with this criteria, ensuring that each of the guiding questions is addressed.  

Impact (5 points)

  • Does the proposed idea have the potential for significant breadth and/or depth of impact? 
  • Does the idea have the potential for long-term impact? 
  • Does the idea have potential applications beyond those proposed? 

Feasibility (5 points)

  • Can the project be realistically completed in the time allotted? 
  • Can the available technology support the execution of the proposed idea? 
  • Are requisite supports (e.g. data sources) available for the execution of the idea? 

Use of AI and Machine Learning (ML) Technologies (5 points) 

  • Does the idea leverage AI and ML capabilities in a significant and/or meaningful way? 

Team Capabilities (5 points)

  • Is the team capable of executing the proposed idea? 
  • Does the team have the technical expertise to successfully complete a prototype based on their idea? 
  • Does the team have the content/domain expertise to successfully complete a prototype based on their idea?