ZotGPT Chat is a safe place for UCI to grow AI capabilities.

Introducing Innovative AI Solution: ZotGPT Chat

March 19, 2024 • By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business

In January of this year, UC Irvine introduced ZotGPT Chat to faculty and staff–a customized generative artificial intelligence solution designed to enhance the academic institution's technological capabilities. The AI tool, tailored for the UCI community, will extend access to students later this year. The source code for ZotGPT is now available to all UC campuses to help jumpstart similar efforts across the University of California.



ZotGPT Chat is a step toward safe, secure, and custom AI usage within academia. It stands out in the UC system as a pioneering solution that ensures personal and institutional data remain confidential, shielding them from external vendors that might otherwise use such sensitive information to train their models – a common concern with commercial AI offerings.

With its conversational capabilities, document analysis, and mobile-friendly design, ZotGPT Chat is part of the larger ZotGPT gen AI suite on campus, which includes an expanding portfolio of vendor solutions. This AI initiative aligns with UCI's commitment to fostering an innovative environment by providing wide-ranging access to the latest technology, while ensuring robust security and support. It was developed by the OIT AI Workgroup at UCI: Sarkis Daglian, Max Garrick, Chris Price, Sylvia Bass, Ray Vadnais, Jeff Picco, Joshua Drummond, and Gary Arzumanyan. Support was provided by various other groups and individuals on campus including Pat Lemon, Trevor Day, Warren Leung, and Mark Scarbrough.

UCI's Vice Chancellor for Data and Information Technology, Tom Andriola, underscores the significance of ZotGPT. "We're not just equipping our community with cutting-edge tools; we're bringing in the right frameworks to securely and responsibly harness AI for teaching, research, and improving workflows," he stated.


Future of ZotGPT Chat

The platform's features are steadily expanding, with internet-enabled responses, image generation, and customizable chatbots on the horizon. Notably, ZotGPT Chat is expected to empower faculty and staff to integrate its capabilities into their own software for innovative research endeavors.

Current projects include:

  • ScholarConnect: ZotGPT can make it easier for the world to discover our faculty and their cutting-edge research. The tool can extract and organize information from faculty CVs, enabling uses like highlighting their research interests, honors, awards, recent publications, and more. It will launch at the end of 2024.
  • Nicotine cessation bot: Professor Ian Harris of the UCI Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science and Professor Connie Pechmann of the Paul Merage School of Business are leveraging ZotGPT chat to design a bot that will help those experiencing nicotine addiction.
  • ZotDesk: The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is implementing a chatbot to facilitate help desk requests and streamline routine IT support. It is expected to launch Fall 2024.

ZotGPT Chat currently has 1,796 unique users and is trending to 200 daily users. To increase adoption and highlight popular use cases, the ZotGPT team is beginning to hold webinars and training sessions for faculty and staff.