First A.I. essay contest to publish student work

The first John McCarthy Artificial Intelligence Prize for scientific and philosophical articles discussing artificial intelligence will be awarded to an undergraduate this year in a contest sponsored by the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science and Aporia Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy, two student-run publications.

Philosophy professor Carey Heckman, who helped organize the contest, thought it would be a good way to get students to write who might not otherwise be interested in artificial intelligence.

The contest explores the creation and development of artificial intelligence over the past 50 years. Monetary prizes will be awarded to the top three submissions in scientific and philosophical areas.

A combined total of $1,800 will be awarded, $500 for first place, $250 for second and $100 for the third place submission in each category.

Winning submissions will be published in the DUJS’s next issue.

“It’s a huge thing for an undergrad to be published. There is a lot of opportunity in participating,” Heckman said.

Julia Bernstein ’07, who is a DUJS staff member and The Dartmouth’s Opinion editor, said she believes the contest will help get more undergraduates involved in the DUJS.

“We believed that by providing two different categories and two different publications it would attract more people,” she said.

Bernstein and other DUJS staff members sought to connect the contest to the yearly artificial intelligence conference held at Dartmouth, which take place July 13 to 15.

“Often you can have a conference on-campus that doesn’t connect students, so we hope to use this as a way to gain student involvement,” philosophy professor James Moor said.

“It’s great that the Science Journal is working with [Aporia]. The deep part and essence of what it means to be human is what we try to get at,” Aporia member Tatyana Liskovich ’08 said.

John McCarthy, the man for whom the contest is named, coined the term “artificial intelligence” in 1956 as the topic for the conference at Dartmouth, according to the American Association for Artificial Intelligence website.

The two magazines hope to amass 20 to 40 high-quality submissions which will be judged by a faculty panel.

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