Learn AI in Maine: A Guide to Artificial Intelligence Degree Programs & Certificate-Level Training Courses Online & in Maine

maine network mapMaine is looking ahead, with leadership here poised to take full advantage of what AI can do for the economy. Maine will be the example of how AI can transform heritage sectors –fishing, forestry, tourism– into highly-optimized, globally-competitive trades.

Just as industrialization centuries ago ushered in a new paradigm for the state’s then-labor-intensive industries like shipbuilding, logging, and farming, AI is going to deliver Maine into the future as a shining example of what can go right. Education, manufacturing, healthcare, and natural resource management all stand to gain as they benefit from applied AI.

Maine stands to attract the top minds in AI. The Roux Institute housed within Northeastern University is positioning itself to be the regional hub for innovation and talent, in part by fostering relationships at the intersection of industry, academia, and government. It was founded in 2020 to catalyze New England’s tech and life science economy. In 2023, it hosted the State of AI in Maine forum, which was attended by hundreds. Panelists hailed from a diverse range of sectors, all focused on how AI is going to impact their own unique niche:

AI is going to be big, and it’s not just leaders from academia and industry who recognize this. The public sector can see the writing on the wall too.

The Maine Technology Institute, established in 1999 by the state legislature to provide financial perks to Maine’s innovative businesses, was well represented at the AI forum as a familiar agency that’s helped to make the state the fertile ground it is today for AI solutions.

As AI ushers in the next phase of innovative changes in Maine and across the world, it’s the perfect time to earn a degree in the field. Master’s degrees, as well as post-bacc and post-master’s certificates in AI put graduates in a uniquely competitive position.

Maine’s AI Connection to NASA’s $10 Billion JWST Telescope

deep spaceLaunched on Christmas 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the biggest and most powerful space telescope ever built. Orbiting the sun nearly a million miles from Earth and cryogenically cooled to less than -472°F, JWST started making history just days after coming online.

Thus far it has revealed the most distant galaxies ever recorded, imaged the first direct picture of a planet in another solar system, and spectrographically analyzed the atmosphere of another. It has even made discoveries about early galaxies that have called into question basic theories about how the universe evolved. All of this was made possible thanks to the latest developments in AI.

JWST’s early discoveries about distant and ancient galaxies can be traced directly to the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS). Founding member Dale Kocevski and his wife Elizabeth McGrath are both master’s-and-PhD-holding professors at Colby College in Waterville, where the duo started the ball rolling with NASA to take a wide-field shot with JWST.

CEERS was one of the first research teams NASA turned to for input on what to image with the JWST. Kocevski and McGrath made a convincing proposal to NASA to use the telescope to take a broad survey shot, winning out over other proposals that argued for imaging specific objects.

As Kocevski describes, taking the survey shot is the easy part. Advances in photographic technology mean a few hundred hours of exposure time can yield half a million galaxies – the optics are that good.

Before AI came along, it would take astronomers a year to classify just 10,000 galaxies.

Now thanks to machine learning algorithms, neural networks are able to revolutionize the process of classifying galaxies, speeding it up by a factor of a hundred.

That’s why JWST has been making headlines. But Kocevski isn’t surprised by the telescope’s capabilities nor by what his academic research team CEERS has been able to accomplish with AI.

AI Jobs in Maine

The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the number of jobs for AI professionals (classified as computer and information research scientists) is projected to grow nationally by 23% over the decade leading up to 2032, a trend that’s certain to be felt in Maine where AI is development is fast on the move.

AI jobs are also central to Maine’s 10-Year Economic Development Strategy championed by the governor to attract 75,000 workers to the state while simultaneously expanding annual wages by 10%; all by 2030.

AI jobs in Maine are in a unique position to bring the state-supported goal of economic development across the finish line because:

Artificial Intelligence Jobs in Portland, Lewiston, and Bangor

Maine is New England’s boom state when it comes to AI job opportunities in government, legacy industries, and the private sector.

The Director of Business Intelligence at Bangor Savings Bank cites data as being the banking sector’s fundamental commodity. Working with a company specializing in AI and one of Maine’s leading universities, the bank developed a machine learning model to help customers identify the most attractive financial services.

Academia is a safe nest for AI technologies to grow and then thrive. In 2022 Bowdoin College in Brunswick was selected by Google and the National Humanities Center to develop a curriculum that studies the ethical issues raised by AI. Bates College in Lewiston won its largest federal grant ever of $4 million from the National Science Foundation to establish a video database that supports research in fields like AI and neuroscience.

Any company dealing with issues related to staffing and operational management can benefit from AI’s ability to streamline efficiency and quickly identify workplace issues to reduce employee turnover. This is exactly how the Vice President of Revenue at Portland’s Maine Medical Center used an AI tool. And that’s to say nothing of how AI is capable of improving healthcare delivery.

MaineHealth recently introduced a consumer-grade eye camera for doctors in some of Maine’s most remote rural areas. The camera uses AI cloud-based programming that’s helping doctors remotely diagnose vision disorders capable of causing blindness.

AI Companies in Orono, Bar Harbor, and Portland

AI is changing Maine. More and more companies are catching on. A new paradigm for leveraging data has the potential to revolutionize industries from pharmaceutical R&D to medical diagnostics and more.

The Jackson Laboratory and the MDI Biological Laboratory, the state’s leading life sciences research institutes in Bar Harbor, rely on their data science teams to use the latest developments in AI to expedite the creation of new pharmaceuticals. Right now, MDI is pioneering new approaches in regenerative medicine, including growing kidneys from a patient’s own stem cells.

Neuright is a biotech startup company that uses AI to deliver medicine and therapies with an office in Orono. It focuses on treating neuropathy and uses machine learning to develop tools that maximize an accurate diagnosis as early as possible.

Portland-based tech startup Rockstep Solutions is a company focused on developing in vivo management software using AI for lab studies. This type of software is adept at labeling; it observes an environment, labels everything including behavior, and then categorizes the data to enable a faster analysis.

Running Tide in Portland is dedicated to finding solutions to counter environmental threats. It focuses on removing carbon and restoring ocean health, using technology as a means of achieving its goals. One example is its aquatic growing systems that are chalk full of sensors and machine learning algorithms, developed by its data science team. It also uses deep neural networks to develop strategies for restoring kelp and algae ecosystems.

The common denominator between Maine’s fast-growing startup scene and bourgeoning developments in its legacy industries is a degree in AI or related fields like machine learning and data science.

AI Salaries in Portland, Bangor, and Lewiston-Auburn

AI professionals in Maine wear many hats. One of the best ways of tracking salaries for those in AI is to look at US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for computer and information research scientists. Using 2022 annual figures for data scientists in Maine we can report:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Master’s Degree and Certificate Courses in Maine and Online

New academic programs in AI are sprouting up in Maine faster than the snow melts on a warm spring day.

Northeastern University’s Roux Institute, Bowdoin College, the University of Southern Maine, and the University of Maine are among schools in the state that have recently debuted or are in the process of developing a stronger curriculum in AI. Additional schools with online programs in AI are springing up throughout New England and across the nation.

Machine Learning Degree and Certificate Options in Portland and Brunswick

One of the most practical ways to apply AI is through machine learning. The Roux Institute offers a Master of Professional Studies program in analytics and applied machine intelligence. Bowdoin College offers courses on topics like financial machine learning and deep learning for computer vision.

AI Robotics Degree and Certificate Options in Orono

Robotics lies at the intersection of software, hardware, and engineering. The University of Maine’s Department of Mechanical Engineering offers a graduate degree concentration in robotics and mechatronics, which was recently recipient of a $432,000 grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging to research wearable robotics for gait training in older adults.

AI Computer Science Degree and Certificate Options in Portland

If logging is a legacy industry in Maine, then computer science is a legacy subject in AI.

The University of Southern Maine offers an MS in Computer Science with an emphasis on AI and data analytics. The Roux Institute hosts a graduate certificate in applied analytics, plus MS programs in data science and computer science, and a PhD in computer science.

AI Engineering Degree and Certificate Options in Portland and Orono

AI engineering has already moved countless companies in Maine into more competitive positions.

The University of Maine’s Mechanical Engineering department currently hosts students who are doing their MS and PhD research in areas like biomedical engineering, marine engineering, and UAVs.

The Roux Institute offers an MS program in electrical and computer engineering, an MS in bioengineering, and PhD programs in bioengineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil-environmental engineering.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures for computer information and research scientists. Job growth projections from the US Department of Labor-sponsored resource, CareerOneStop. Figures are based on state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed October 2023.