AI, Ethics, and Geoethics (CS 5970)

Project Module (Cross-Cutting)


  • The project will span the entire semester
  • You, the class, have considerable control over how the project will run and what you will cover in the project

Project overview

I would like to see us create a project, perhaps in smaller groups or perhaps as a full class (we are not that large!) that jumps deeply into issues of AI and ethics and specifically with a geoethics focus.  My ideal project would be for us to create a paper that we submit to a peer-reviewed journal that highlights many of the issues of why we need ethics for AI specifically for geoscience applications.  I think the topic of why we need ethics for AI broadly has been covered well by both the scientific papers and the popular press.  The issue of bias in specific applications is still open.  For example, people may not think that bias exists in weather forecasting yet it can!  Could we dive into a topic such as this, either as a class or as a smaller group, and create something to help guide us going forward? 

What I want you to do initially is to discuss ideas for a project on the #project channel in slack.  Once the ideas have coalesced, I will update this page.  The steps I want to see are:

  • By the end of week 3 of class, make sure you have started the project discussion with your classmates
  • By the end of week 4 of class, we should have a solid set of project proposals (or one proposal if the class is going to go with one class-wide project).  This should be 1 page and turned in on canvas. This was modified due to all the snowstorms and moved to week 4.
    • Proposals should be 1 page.  The content is left open on purpose because these projects may be very different from one another.  At the minimum, you should describe the problem you want to solve, how you will solve it, how you will break it up across the group, and your end product.
  • By the end of week 5 (week 6 due to the snowstorm), everyone will know which project they are working on and will have had feedback on the proposals from Dr McGovern as well as from each other (peer review)
  • Weeks 7-15 will involve some project work each week


  • Week 3, please turn in the initial declaration “Project: initial ideas”
  • Week 4 (week 5 due to snowstorm), please have the leaders of each project group (or a single leader if we do one big project) turn in a 1 page proposal on canvas.  Dr McGovern will upload proposals to a google drive and initiate discussion among and across groups.
  • Week 6: We will provide peer feedback on the proposals and finalize the projects.  Dr. McGovern will also provide feedback.
  • Week 9: By then, turn in a short report that shows preliminary results, who has done what, and what is left to do.  This report should be no more than a page.
  • Week 11: all project groups should turn in an updated project report.  This report should showcase your progress thus far (note, we are in the last 1/3 of the semester so you should have good progress on your project!), discuss what is left to do, and highlight any issues that are hindering progress.  Be sure to also state your planned final project format (paper, video, demos, etc.).  Keep it succinct but use 1-2 pages as needed.  Make sure to turn this in to the “Week 11 project update” assignment.
  • Week 15: The final project report is due Wednesday of week 15 (May 5).  It will be accepted with no penalty through Wednesday May 12.  The report should be turned in on canvas to the Final Project assignment.