Cutting edge delivered with new IST concentrations

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With two new recently added concentrations in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at George Mason University, graduate students have a cutting edge in machine learning and user experience (UX) design.

Ioulia Rytikova
IST Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Studies Ioulia

The Machine Learning Engineering and Human Computer Interaction (with UX design) concentrations offer courses that help students gain competitive skills and adapt to an ever evolving technology landscape, according to Ioulia Rytikova, IST professor and associate chair for graduate studies.

“The Machine Learning Engineering concentration was added in fall 2022, and HCI will be available in fall 2023,” Rytikova said. “We are committed to an inclusive program where students receive the hands-on learning they need to be successful in their careers while being supported in their studies every step of the way.”

According to IST assistant professor Nora McDonald, the HCI concentration will be useful for students interested in designing and engineering, as it’s important to know how to gather human user data.

“As soon as they do HCI, it opens them up to possibilities and has a profound effect on how they see technology,” McDonald said. “This is crucial no matter what role they pursue.”

IST adjunct professor Aisha Sikder adds the entire world will be in front of students pursuing the concentration in machine learning.

“It’s not just that they will take a few courses here and there, but this

Aisha Sikdar
IST Adjunct Professor Aisha Sikder

concentration opens the doors for students in so many different directions,” Sikder said. “They will be prepared for roles in the machine learning, data science, and AI realm and beyond.”

The new concentrations are part of ongoing efforts by the department to encourage and welcome a diverse range of students, providing them with a curriculum that suits their lifestyle and opportunities to succeed.

“We understand potential students come from all types of backgrounds, needs, and requirements,” Rytikova said. “We are a dedicated team of faculty that make sure every student has the tools and means to get the most out of their education and succeed.”

Nora Mcdonald
IST Assistant Professor Nora McDonald

The two concentrations are a part of Mason’s Master of Science in applied information technology.