Chattanooga Times Free Press

Tyner students get quantum lessons


Tyner Academy students tackled quantum computing, artificial intelligence and coding in a showcase of projects Tuesday in a class at the EPB Future Ready Institute of Technology and Networking.

“This is a first step toward major, broad things that we’re going to need across our community,” Michael Stone, a vice president at nonprofit Public Education Foundation, said at Tyner.

Basing their projects off a lesson last week from Qubitekk founder and President Duncan Earl, the students started with Google’s Teachable Machine, which allows users to train a computer to recognize images, sounds, and poses.

Tyner teacher John Paul Creel said some students quickly picked up the lesson.

“They made 3Dprinted objects that they can make glow, or they just found ways to incorporate things they have already learned either in networking computer systems or in our coding classes,” Creel said in an interview.

J. Ed Marston, vice president of communications at EPB, said he looks forward to the opportunity the program will give to the greater Chattanooga

community and its students. EPB has partnered with Tyner Academy for six years, and its mission is to increase the quality of life in the community, he said.

“And so one of the things that we tried to do is free programs like this, where you’re learning some very on-demand skills that are going to help you when you graduate (and) get a job,” Marston said.

Halcyunna Upshaw, a ninth grade student from Tyner, said she enjoyed the class and hopes to continue machine learning and AI as a hobby. She programmed her project with shapes and colors, correlating to objects her computer saw through its camera. For instance, if the computer saw her face, the machine would turn red and display a heart shape. If the machine saw her with a phone, an “X” would appear with the color blue.

Similarly, 11th grader Parris Bolden trained her AI to react in shapes and colors depending on what the machine saw. Bolden said it was fascinating seeing the program learn while she worked on the project. She finished her project in four hours over the span of two days.

“The whole idea of it was so interesting to me and my hyper fixation gets really strong,” she said in an interview.