SIP Title: Alexander AI
Whether investing in stocks or in cryptocurrencies, the only guarantee you can really count on is the unpredictability of it all. That’s why University of Advancing Technology (UAT) students Chris Tomaskovic (Advancing Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence), Hunter DeVries-Ramirez (Network Security) and Anthony Shank (Advancing Computer Science) decided to construct a solution. With Alexander AI, a stock forecasting tool and the group’s Student Innovation Project (SIP), they strive to illuminate how public perception of a company can impact rising and falling stock value.
To keep the scope of Alexander AI reasonable, the app in its current form only evaluates the value of Tesla stock. Alexander AI performs sentiment analysis with data from Twitter to evaluate stock value based on what people are saying about the company and key partners. The AI used for the project makes predictions using a long short-term memory (LSTM) model, which is ideal for processing sequential data such as stocks. LSTM algorithms aid machine learning and help the AI understand complex data. The AI can take both positive and negative tweets to form a mean sentiment score, which is then used to inform the anticipated value of stocks for a five-day period.
The students also had to use or learn unexpected skills to bring Alexander AI to the finish line, securing an all-hands-on-deck mentality. Anthony had to learn a new programming language as well as how to create custom APIs to complete his portion of the project. Hunter polished up his graphic design skills to create the group’s logo, a Spartan-inspired image replacing a spear with a stock forecast arrow. As for Chris, he felt like he picked up a lot of new knowledge in entrepreneurship, learning everything from how to come up with a viable business plan to taking it from idea to market to securing domain names for a venture.
Chris believes the best part of studying at UAT has been the emphasis on practical application of studied concepts over theory.
“What I really like about UAT is the project-based approach,” Chris said. “Not having to worry about tests and quizzes, and actually doing the hands-on work is how I learn best.”
Chris also added that since attending UAT, the community has been a favorite part of his experience. “It’s a lot of like-minded people,” he said.
The UAT community is one in which curious, engaged and ambitious students can thrive and collaborate with others who also think and work differently. For Hunter, he appreciates that UAT offers more than just the cookie-cutter four-year trajectory for earning a degree.
“I like the accelerated program and getting done quicker than the normal four-year mark,” said Hunter, who will be wrapping up his UAT degree in just two semesters at the age of 21.
Anthony also loves the project-based style of learning and the way UAT gives students the freedom to explore their interests while still providing the support from professors as well as the resources they need to be successful.
“It’s exciting being able to create something on your own,” Anthony said. “And one of the best things about it is that UAT doesn't claim the projects that you create.”
Anthony is referring to the fact that any IP created by students during their time at UAT remains student owned. This way, any SIPs or other projects can still be developed by students after graduation.
All three arrived at UAT by different paths. Chris found out about UAT through an Instagram ad before taking a tour and deciding it would be where he would pursue his degree. Hunter’s mom told him about the university after seeing an advertisement on Facebook and arranging a tour. Anthony, meanwhile, heard about UAT from a friend and decided to give it a try via UATx, an overnight, on-campus open house event, before enrolling.
The students received ample guidance from UAT professors in the creation of Alexander AI. Anthony thinks Professor Tony Hinton is the best teacher to learn programming from because “he goes out of his way to help you.” Professor DapzuryValenzuela played a key role in advising the group and keeping them on track so they could all present Alexander AI together at the annual SIP Showcase.
Because the students own their IP, this leaves Chris, Anthony and Hunter free to continue to develop Alexander AI after graduation, which all three have expressed interest in continuing because the project is so innovative. While there are existing AI-generated stock trading guidance services, these use news headlines and other media to form their sentiment analysis. Alexander AI, however, is different in that it forms its recommendations purely via public sentiment.
A future version of Alexander AI would likely need its own dedicated server space and other resources, but the students feel it could expand into covering other stocks than Tesla, or could even use social platforms beyond Twitter, such as Reddit.
All three group members are on track to graduate from UAT within the next couple of semesters, at which point they plan to pursue their careers independently. Still, they see the possibility for continuing development of Alexander AI.
“If we can build a business off of Alexander AI, I'd love to keep working on this,” Chris said.
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