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PROOF POINTS: A smarter robo-grader


The best kind of expertise might be personal experience.

When the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education wanted to learn more about the latest advances in robo-grading, it decided to hold a competition. In the fall of 2021, 23 teams, many of them Ph.D. computer scientists from universities and corporate research laboratories, competed to see who could build the best automatic scoring model.

One of the six finalists was a team of just two 2021 graduates from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prathic Sundararajan, 21, and Suraj Rajendran, 22, met during an introductory biomedical engineering class freshman year and had studied artificial intelligence. To ward off boredom and isolation during the pandemic, they entered a half dozen hackathons and competitions, using their knowhow in machine learning to solve problems in prisons, medicine and auto sales. They kept winning. 


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