From left, AUA’s Aram Hajian, AUA President Karin Markides, Hovhannes Avoyan of PicsArt and Gurgen Khostikyan

AUA and PicsArt Announce the Launch of the AI Lab

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YEREVAN, Armenia ⎯ The American University of Armenia (AUA) and PicsArt  in December announced the collaborative launch of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab that will employ faculty and students to conduct cutting-edge research in machine learning and computer vision. This offers AUA students the unique opportunity to gain research experience in addition to applied software engineering skills greatly valued by companies in the IT field.

AUA and PicsArt have been working together to create a new model that will promote science and research while growing academic and professional capacity in the domain of AI.

“Artificial Intelligence is quickly evolving all over the world and I think it is the right time to set the scene here, in Armenia. We are very happy to launch the AI Lab in collaboration with PicsArt to enhance research in the field of AI. I am anticipating to see how this new initiative will take us a step forward into a center of excellence and surprise other countries,” noted AUA President Dr. Karin Markides.

The AI Lab will employ two members of the AUA faculty, lead researchers, and about 15 undergraduate students from AUA’s Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE) majoring in computer and data science. The students will be trained to conduct both applied and fundamental research in machine learning and computer vision. AUA professors and machine learning professionals from PicsArt will begin trainings in January 2020. After a six-week training course, the best performing students will be hired by the AI Lab.

“I am really excited about this project for three main reasons: my background in AI, deep connection to AUA, and prospects for Armenia. PicsArt is all about making awesome and I hope that together with AUA we can make AI awesome in Armenia. I believe this is just the first step of our collaboration and we can do much more together,” noted Hovhannes Avoyan (M PSIA ’95), Founder of PicsArt Inc. and AUA Corporation Trustee.

PicsArt believes in the potential of the AUA students and is excited to provide engineering students with the opportunity for continuous learning in an academic environment, while also solving real-world challenges, based on real data and collaboration with industry experts.

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As AI is a fast-growing domain, it is extremely important that undergraduates studying in this or other related fields get a high-quality education and gain advanced research skills that will make them competitive in the job market.

The new AI Lab will allow students to explore immense opportunities in research; learn how to experiment with cutting-edge tools and technologies; receive advanced tailored training and mentorship from local and international faculty and industry experts. They will be able to apply their knowledge to real big data sets; and offer solutions for a globally leading application. The students will also get competitive compensation for work that enriches, deepens, and accelerates their learning experience at AUA.

Both PicsArt and AUA believe there is immense untapped potential for collaboration between academia and industry. The AI Lab is one example of innovative models and processes that will increase mutual trust and greatly contribute to the value generation and human talent capacity development.

PicsArt is a creative platform and social editing app that’s leading the visual storytelling revolution and is the16th most downloaded app worldwide. With more than 130 million monthly active creators, the PicsArt community creates, remixes and shares nearly 1 billion images every month. The company has amassed one of the largest open-source collections of content in the world, including free-to-edit photos, stickers and more. PicsArt is available in 30 languages for free and as a subscription on iOS, Android and Windows devices. Headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Yerevan, Armenia; Moscow; Beijing; Tokyo; and Los Angeles, PicsArt is backed by Sequoia Capital, DCM Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, and Siguler Guff and Company.

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