Florida Atlantic University celebrated the addition of The Rubin and Cindy Gruber Sandbox on March 23, located within the S.E. Wimberly Library on the Boca Raton campus. The transformational facility was made possible thanks to a generous $1 million gift from Rubin and Cindy Gruber.
FAU President Emeritus John Kelly; Valery Forbes, Dean of the Schmidt College of Science; FAU benefactor Rubin Gruber; and Assistant Professor and Sandbox Co-Director William Hahn spoke during the event, which was attended by more than 100 guests. Other attendees included Linda Golian-Liu, Dean of FAU Libraries, university leaders, community officials and FAU supporters.
“Given the increasing role that AI is playing in all of our lives, not to mention the breathtaking pace with which the technology continues to advance, it is vital that we provide both the facilities and the opportunities for the next generation of problem solvers to be comfortable working in an AI-powered world,” said Forbes.
One of the nation’s first multi-disciplinary, state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) labs located in a university library, the collaborative, 3,400-square-foot experimental space was designed for students of all levels, from all disciplines, to directly engage with the fast-advancing field of AI.
The Sandbox also houses the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science’s Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics (MPCR) Lab. Students from the MPCR Lab demonstrated their research projects for guests at interactive, kiosk-style stations.
Students showcased over a dozen software and hardware research projects, including:
An AI safety driver’s test which aims to develop robust policies for self-driving systems that are safe and secure in all conditions. Using state of the art simulation systems, students are exploring the limits of AI understanding and identifying potential failure modes - both accidental and deliberate. The research team is using this data to create more reliable autonomous driving solutions with greater safety assurance. This innovative approach will help ensure that robotic technologies remain secure while providing a safer experience for everyone on the roads.
A musical cognition project that explores the relationship between people and technology to develop a new language that combines music, mathematics and computer science. This project is a groundbreaking exploration of the relationship between people and technology. The team is developing a new language that combines music, mathematics, and computer science. This research will enable the ability to program computers with a piano to understand what notes mean in certain contexts. The work also seeks to answer why pop songs have such an appeal for many people across cultures – by understanding its structure and mechanics better the study may be able to unlock the secrets behind why it takes much more effort to learn a new language than it does to enjoy popular music. This project has the potential of revolutionizing how humans interact with technology while also unlocking some of life's mysteries about communication and thought processes.
An artificial immune system (AIS) which will provide digital antibodies capable of recognizing threats and responding quickly to protect sensitive data without compromising performance or reliability. This project focuses on leveraging the power of nature to protect what matters most. The group is researching and developing AIS that draw inspiration from natural immune systems, using them to create advanced computer and financial security systems. By learning from nature, the group can develop a powerful security system with real-world applications.
“The Sandbox team has fostered a welcoming culture that promotes student-driven research, in which partnerships representing many different disciplines and perspectives thrive,” shared Dean Forbes.
Rubin and Cindy Gruber are entrepreneurs and philanthropists who have demonstrated an expanding commitment to the mission, vision and objectives of the University. Part of their generous gift supports student scholarships through their endowment.
To learn more about the Sandbox, visit fau.edu/sandbox.