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CCI professor’s student wins AI Art Contest

May 24, 2024

Lauren Pincus holds her award in front of NVTC backdrop
Lauren Pincus holds her award at the NVTA-sponsored Impact AI Summit.

Lauren Pincus, a Ph.D. student of Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) professor Feras Batarseh, won first place for her artwork “AI for Water” at the Impact AI Summit’s statewide Generative AI Art Contest.

AI-generated artwork
“AI for Water” was named first in the Generative AI Art Contest. Pincus used an open AI DALL-E 3 image generator to create the work.

The May 16 event was hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTA)

Pincus, a student in Virginia Tech’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering, is focusing on cyber-biosecurity in water and agricultural systems, and Responsible AI.

“My artwork falls under the category Fostering Responsible AI through Audit and Traceability. This piece includes elements which explicitly reflect AI and themes of traceability,” said Pincus, who was awarded the AI-generated book, “Washington, D.C.: Triviappolis Treasures.” 

She integrated binary codes into the scene, a technological texture, and symbols of the golden ratio, as well as spirals and geometric shapes, to emphasize the mathematical precision involved in AI and traceability. 

“This image includes both organic (displayed by the water) and almost celestial-dimensions, to symbolize protection and guidance,” she said. “All the components have a different but amalgamated purpose, and depict the transparency, interconnectedness, and the accountability of ethical AI systems.”

Pincus is also an alum of George Mason University, where she studied Biology, Bioinformatics, Computational and Data Sciences, and Arts and Visual Technologies.

With her background in biotechnology research, she said she realized Virginia Tech’s A3 Lab (AI Assurance and Applications) would be a great opportunity to expand her skill set in an interdisciplinary setting. 

In addition to the art competition, the event featured sessions on such topics as:

  • Fostering Responsible AI through Audit and Traceability
  • Revolutionizing Health Care with AI
  • Operationalizing AI: Putting AI to Work
  • Frontiers of Innovation: AI, Space, and Quantum

“Many thanks and gratitude for all of the incredible people and panel discussions in the most cutting-edge technology,” Pincus said. “It was a memorable day.”