Community & Events

YEG Tech Night – March 8

Join your friends in Edmonton’s tech community

Join your friends in Edmonton’s tech community for an evening of entertainment and fun!

Work Nicer has generously agreed to host us for Drink Nicer, and afterwards, we’ll check out Rapid Fire Theatre’s Theatresports at the Citadel!

Theatresports, which pits two teams of Rapid Fire Theatre’s best improvisers against each other for the love of the audience, is Edmonton’s longest-running improv show – now in its 38th season!

Please feel free to bring your significant others, colleagues and anyone in Edmonton’s tech community!

The details:

Purchase tickets for $5!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Anytime after 4pm – Drinks at Work Nicer (Beaver House: 10160 103 St NW)

7pm SHARP – Arrive at the Citadel (9828 101A Ave NW)

7:30pm to 9:15pm – Theatresports

As a courtesy to Rapid Fire, we ask everyone to be at the Citadel no later than 7pm so that our group can be seated in an organized fashion before the show begins.

Sponsors:
Air Trail Logo
Drivewyze Logo
dealcloser logo
worknicer logo
Make Sense of Machine Learning

Heralded by many as the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence has inspired countless news articles, novels, and films. With this deluge of information comes hopes and aspirations, fears and misconceptions – some justified and others not.

How can we make sense of it all? 

Join Amii as we pull back the curtain on AI and lay a pragmatic foundation for what AI is, what it isn’t, and how you can begin to think about the place of AI in your business.

Event Information

Register today!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

12 – 1 p.m.

Startup Edmonton

#301, 10359 104 Street Northwest

Edmonton, AB T5J 1B9

Meet the Brightest Minds in Edmonton’s AI Community

Amii’s monthly meetup brings together the brightest minds in Edmonton’s AI community.

Discuss the latest topics in AI and machine learning, learn about the latest tools and techniques in machine learning, discover how companies are using AI to drive value, and network with thought leaders from Amii, local AI companies, service providers, and corporate labs.

This month’s talk features Johannes Günther presenting a modular, ML-based control approach to industrial laser welding using deep learning and reinforcement learning techniques, and Dornoosh Zonoobi from MEDO.ai, who will explore how ML & AI can radically simplify the way ultrasound scans are performed and interpreted, enabling any caregiver to make an accurate & confident diagnosis.

Join us for Amii’s monthly AI Meetup and be a part of building Edmonton’s growing AI community!

Event Information

Register today!

Monday, February 25, 2019

5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Startup Edmonton

#301, 10359 104 Street Northwest

Edmonton, AB T5J 1B9

The Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta is inviting applications for tenure-track or tenured faculty positions at all levels, with a strong research record in the area of AI.

All applications are to be submitted at https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/13233, and complete applications and all reference letters must be received by April 1st, 2019 for full consideration.

Read the posting below or on the UAlberta website for Tenure-track and Tenured Professor Position in Artificial Intelligence:


Tenure-track and Tenured Professor Position in Artificial Intelligence

Department of Computing Science

Competition No.  –   A105038173
Closing Date  –   Will remain open until filled.

The Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta invites applications for tenure-track or tenured faculty positions at all levels.  Candidates with a strong research record in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI), in particular (but not limited to) Reinforcement Learning, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Robotics, Computer Games, Security, Algorithmic Game Theory and Ethical AI, will be considered for this position.

Successful candidates may be considered as nominees for a funded/endowed research chair position, e.g., the DeepMind Chair in Artificial Intelligence or a Canada CIFAR Artificial Intelligence Chair in the Faculty of Science, if the appointment advances the strategic considerations of the Department of Computing Science, the Faculty of Science and the University of Alberta.

According to csrankings.org the department is ranked #1 in Canada and averaged #3 in the world in terms of number of publications at top AI venues in the last 10 years, and it is also home to Amii (www.amii.ca), the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute, formerly known as AICML.  It is noteworthy that the 2017 Government of Canada Budget included an investment of $125 million into a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy which features a major investment in research at the University of Alberta.  According to the most recent Times Higher Education World University ranking, the department is ranked 3rd in Canada and 67th in the world. The department is home to 46 tenured and tenure-track faculty members, and nearly 300 graduate students in its Ph.D. and M.Sc. programs. The University of Alberta is home to over 31,000 undergraduate students, 7,600 graduate students, and 600 postdoctoral fellows.

Successful candidates will have strong communications skills and also demonstrate a commitment to highly effective graduate and undergraduate teaching.  They will establish their own funded research programs, supervise graduate students, and teach graduate and undergraduate courses. Strong potential for productive interactions with researchers in the department or in other disciplines at the University of Alberta will be considered an asset.  The candidate must hold a Ph.D. (or equivalent) degree by the appointment date.

Applicants are asked to submit the following (all files must be submitted in PDF format):

  • a full curriculum vitae,
  • a 1-2 page research statement which should (1) highlight contributions to their field of research, (2) present an overview of their planned research program for ~5 years after initial appointment, and (3) describe how the candidate will interact, collaborate with and complement other researchers at the University of Alberta,
  • a 1-page teaching statement including their experience and interests, and
  • their most significant peer-reviewed published contribution to their field of research

Each applicant must also ensure that three referees will submit (through the submission website) confidential reference letters about their accomplishments and their potential as an independent researcher.   

All applications are to be submitted at https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/13233, and complete applications and all reference letters must be received by April 1st, 2019. for full consideration.  

For further information please email the Department Chair’s Executive Assistant at cs.ea@ualberta.ca (please use “AI Faculty Position” as the email’s subject).

To assist the University in complying with mandatory reporting requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (R203(3)(e), please include the first digit of your Canadian Social Insurance Number in your application (within your cover letter). If you do not have a Canadian Social Insurance Number, please indicate this in your application (within the cover letter).

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. If suitable Canadian citizens or permanent residents cannot be found, other individuals will be considered.

The University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.


Want to learn more about Edmonton-based contributions to AI research? Visit Amii’s Our Impact page for a selection of highlights.

Your Introduction to Amii

Hello Amii! is your introduction to the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and our Applied Machine Learning team.

Learn how our experts can guide your teams and processes to help propel your business to the next level using machine intelligence. We want to take you beyond small-scale AI projects that will have a local impact in your company and jumpstart your thinking around the ways artificial intelligence and machine learning can help drive the next stage of growth for your business.

Join us at Hello Amii! and discover how our team of expert Machine Learning Advisors can help you gain the knowledge, skills and abilities you need to create a transformational shift in the way your teams think about data and decision making.

Event Information

Register today!

Monday, March 4, 2019

5 – 6 p.m.

Nucleus Calgary

100 6 Avenue Southwest

Calgary, AB T2G 2C4

Amii is proud to be part of today’s announcement of $100 million in funding from the Government of Alberta to invest in Alberta’s high-tech industries. This timely investment in programs at Amii, as well as our friends at Alberta Innovates, will enable Alberta businesses of all kinds to seize the opportunities presented by machine intelligence.

“This landmark investment will catalyze economic growth stretching beyond Alberta’s machine intelligence sector,” says John Shillington, President & CEO of Amii. “Businesses around the world are turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence as key drivers of innovation across every industry sector. With this renewed support from the Government of Alberta, Amii will advance transformational business programs offering scientific mentorship and educational opportunities. Together, we’re helping Alberta businesses seize the opportunities presented by machine intelligence.”

The announcement builds upon a 17-year history of investment by the Government of Alberta that has amounted to $44 million being put into machine intelligence related research at UAlberta and Amii. Notably, Amii has also received $2 million in support from Alberta Innovates to establish an office in downtown Edmonton and $25 million in funding from CIFAR as part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy.

Amii would like to extend a sincere thank you to our Amii Fellows, without whom none of this would be possible.

Learn more about today’s announcement in the media release below from the Government of Alberta:


Alberta invests in innovation to fuel the future

A historic investment in high-tech industries will create thousands of jobs, attract millions in new investment and help diversify Alberta’s economy.

The Alberta government is investing $100 million to attract more artificial intelligence-based high-tech companies to invest in Alberta. Coupled with last year’s investment of $50 million to create 3,000 new high-tech training seats at post-secondary institutions across the province, this represents a significant diversification initiative.

“Innovation is a critical tool for competitiveness in nearly every sector of the economy, including energy. By investing in technology and the talent that powers it, we are ensuring Alberta continues to be a world leader in clean, efficient energy production and that our economy is more resilient and diversified for the future.”  
Rachel Notley, Premier

The province’s investment in technology will build the industry and business capacity needed to help talented Albertans find jobs here at home. This investment in both Alberta Innovates and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) will leverage partnerships with Alberta’s leading research universities and support long-term research and job creation.

The overall investment is estimated to result in:

  • more than 6,000 trained, skilled Albertans
  • the creation of over 140 new companies
  • over 30 new multi-national offices, labs in Alberta
  • over $207 million in leveraged investments by industry
  • increased competitiveness and productivity of at least 150 Alberta businesses through the use of artificial intelligence (AI)

“By investing today, we are setting Alberta up for long-term economic diversification and success, while creating thousands of jobs and generating millions in value in the near term.”
Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

An initial investment of $27 million will allow Alberta non-profit Amii to develop a new program that supports companies looking to build their in-house AI capacity, incorporate innovative solutions and drive benefits. It also means the Edmonton-based organization can expand its presence and open a new Calgary office. This new investment, along with the federal government’s commitment of $25 million, will accelerate the positive impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning on the Alberta economy.

Amii is already home to some of the world’s top talent in AI. Estimates from across the high-tech community suggest this funding will result in about 5,600 new high-paid jobs and roughly $1.5 billion in overall value to Alberta businesses and Amii-affiliated startups.

“This landmark investment will catalyze economic growth stretching beyond Alberta’s machine intelligence sector. Businesses around the world are turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence as key drivers of innovation across every industry sector. With this renewed support from the Government of Alberta, Amii will advance transformational business programs offering scientific mentorship and educational opportunities. Together, we’re helping Alberta businesses seize the opportunities presented by machine intelligence.”
John Shillington, CEO, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute

The funding will also support Alberta Innovates with work focused on company growth and acceleration, applied research and development, industry solutions and establishing a stronger global market presence for Alberta.

“The support for these programs demonstrates the shift in how Alberta Innovates drives innovation and builds on past expertise to accelerate Alberta’s digital transformation towards a data-enabled economy.”
Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

Alberta is attracting top-level talent and investment from around the world, including Google DeepMind, the Royal Bank of Canada and Mitsubishi which have all opened research facilities here. Interest from other major high-tech industry leaders is anticipated which will mean additional millions in new private-sector investment in the province and hundreds of new jobs for Albertans.


If you’re interested in learning how Amii can help your business build in-house machine intelligence capacity, we invite you to attend our next Hello, Amii! Info session in Edmonton, or our next Hello, Amii! Info session in Calgary.

Your Introduction to Amii

Hello Amii! is your introduction to the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and our Applied Machine Learning team.

Learn how our experts can guide your teams and processes to help propel your business to the next level using machine intelligence. We want to take you beyond small-scale AI projects that will have a local impact in your company and jumpstart your thinking around the ways artificial intelligence and machine learning can help drive the next stage of growth for your business.

Join us at Hello Amii! and discover how our team of expert Machine Learning Advisors can help you gain the knowledge, skills and abilities you need to create a transformational shift in the way your teams think about data and decision making.

Event Information

Register today!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

12 – 1 p.m.

Amii HQ

#1101, 10065 Jasper Avenue NW

Edmonton, AB T5J 3B1

Lunch is provided!

Community & Events

AI Seminars – February 2019

Keep up to date on research coming out of the University of Alberta and beyond!

The Artificial Intelligence Seminar is a weekly meeting where researchers interested in AI can share their research. Presenters include both local speakers from the University of Alberta and visitors from other institutions. Topics related in any way to Artificial Intelligence can be presented, from foundational theoretical work to innovative applications of AI techniques to new fields and problems.

Each AI Seminar happens (unless otherwise specified) at 12 – 1 pm at the University of Alberta Computing Science Center, CSC B-10 (click here for a floorplan). Plus, pizza is provided for all attendees!

Here are the AI Seminars happening in February 2019:

February 8: Ilbin and Bo

Speaker 1: Ilbin Lee

Title: Introducing some Machine Learning Research Projects in Wildfire and Healthcare Applications

Abstract:
In this talk, Ilbin Lee will briefly introduce machine learning projects in wildfire and hospital operations. These two projects involve the use of machine intelligence models to predict risk and therefore increase the likelihood of successful intervention.

Bio: Ilbin Lee is an assistant professor in operations management at the University of Alberta School of Business. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. He obtained his PhD in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan in 2015. His research interests include sequential decision-making based on data and prediction, computational optimization, and wildfire and healthcare applications.

Speaker 2: Bo Cao

Title: Machine Learning Applied to Psychiatric Disorders Understanding

Abstract: Bo Cao will talk about several studies using machine learning and brain imaging to understand psychiatric disorders, identify patients with these disorders and predict the treatment outcomes.

Bio: Bo Cao is trained in mathematics (BSc), psychology (MSc), computational neuroscience (PhD), neuroimaging and psychiatry (postdoc), and has a strong passion for understanding the fundamental mechanisms of how the brain works and how to cure the brain when the mechanisms are disturbed. He currently is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta.

February 15

More details to come

February 22: Hengshuai Yao

Title: ACE: An Actor Ensemble Algorithm for Continuous Control with Tree Search

Abstract: In this seminar, Hengshuai Yao presents a paper which he co-authored with Shangtong Zhang and Hao Chen, regarding propose actor ensemble algorithm, named ACE, for continuous control with a deterministic policy in reinforcement learning. This paper was accepted by the AAAI 2019 Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Bio: Hengshuai studied reinforcement learning at Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence (RLAI) lab from 2008 to 2015 in a PhD program at Department of Computing Science (supervised by Csaba Szepesvári), University of Alberta. His thesis is on model-based reinforcement learning with linear function approximation. He joined NCSoft game studio in San Francisco in 2016 working on reinforcement learning in games. He moved back to Canada in 2017 and joined Huawei Noah’s Ark Lab. Right now he is working on reinforcement learning and robotics.

BONUS Seminar
February 22, 2 – 3 pm: Marc Bellemare

Location: CSC 3-33

Title: A geometric perspective on optimal representations in reinforcement learning

Abstract: In reinforcement learning, an important component of an agent is its representation of state: how it encodes raw state inputs into features that are useful to the process of decision-making. This talk presents some recent work on what constitutes a good representation, especially in the context of deep reinforcement learning, where the representation itself can be adapted to minimize prediction error.

Bio: Marc G. Bellemare is a research scientist at Google Brain in Montreal, Canada; CIFAR Learning in Machines & Brain Fellow; adjunct professor at McGill University; and was recently awarded a Canada CIFAR AI chair, held at the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (Mila). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta where he studied the concept of domain-independent agents and developed the highly-successful Arcade Learning Environment, the platform for AI research on Atari 2600 games. From 2013 to 2017 he was a research scientist at DeepMind where he made major contributions to the field of deep reinforcement learning.


Are you interested in presenting at an AI Seminar? If so, please contact the current organizer, Juliano Rabelo, at rabelo@ualberta.ca.

Creating AI Strategy for Innovation Affiliates

Come find out Amii’s approach to creating AI strategy for our Innovation Affiliates.

We’ll discuss the data maturity you need to begin an AI initiative, how to develop your internal capacity to tackle disruptive industry questions, and finally, how sound change management concepts will tie all of your efforts together.

Please note that a basic knowledge of machine intelligence is required to understand this session.

Event Information

Register today!

Friday, February 22, 2019

12 – 1 p.m.

Amii HQ

#1101, 10065 Jasper Avenue NW

Edmonton, AB T5J 3B1

Amii and CIFAR are thrilled to host the Deep Learning & Reinforcement Learning Summer School in Edmonton this July 24 – August 2.

The Summer School brings together graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and industry professionals to explore the latest AI techniques and advancements, build their research networks and open new opportunities for collaboration. Participants learn directly from world-renowned AI researchers including Richard Sutton, Yoshua Bengio and Martha White. Other programming includes an AI Career Fair and social events around town.

DLRL Summer School 2018 - Rear view of classroom
DLRL Summer School 2018 in Toronto
Photo credit: Vector Institute and CIFAR

To give this year’s attendees an idea of what to expect for this year’s Summer School, we asked three of last year’s attendees to tell us about their experiences and what they found valuable. Check out what they had to say below:

1. Why did you decide to apply for the 2018 Deep Learning & Reinforcement Learning Summer School?

Katya: The [Summer School] is an incredible opportunity to meet distinguished researchers in the field face-to-face, get the latest cutting-edge research and, no less important, to connect and meet fellow students, find out what they are working on and discuss potential collaborative projects. This past year we had people from the University of Toronto, Université de Montréal, McGill, University of Alberta, CMU, MIT, Stanford, Google, Duke.

Matthew: When the application went up, I was actually informed by several of my lab mates that the Summer School was something that would be extremely valuable in my future research. There was also quite a big push to apply in the RLAI [editor’s note: Reinforcement Learning & Artificial Intelligence] Lab here at University of Alberta. I joined in and was even more excited once I saw the list of speakers.

Raksha: I was aware of various summer schools, but I’d never gotten a chance to attend one. So in late winter of 2018, when I heard about the [Summer School] happening in Toronto, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. The list of speakers for the school were distinguished researchers in the area, plus the RL school component, the positive reviews from peers who had been to the 2017 version, and encouragement to attend by professors in the department, made it very exciting – and I decided to apply to it!

2. What did you enjoy most about the event?

Katya: People. The brain power and diversity of research backgrounds in the room were fascinating. It was also valuable that the timetable had plenty of time for networking, i.e. over lunch.

Matthew: I was struck by the amazing talent of all the participants and how many were from fields outside machine learning and reinforcement learning. Some of my favorite conversations were with physicists who were looking to apply deep learning or reinforcement learning to model the dynamics of particular physical systems. There was also a lot of opportunity to connect with people from around the world. Learning about the many avenues of research explored is awe-inspiring and a reminder that my own interests are a minuscule part of the picture.

Raksha: As the focus is both on deep learning and reinforcement learning, it was a great opportunity for me, a person who works in reinforcement learning, to get insight into state-of-the-art research in deep learning and hear different perspectives about reinforcement learning. Additionally, it was really nice to meet and interact with the extended peer/research community in a more school-like setting!

3. Did the Summer School affect your career and/or research trajectory? If so, how?

Katya: Terrific impact. During one of the breaks, we sat down with Rich Sutton and discussed a new project. As a result of that discussion, four months later, I am visiting the RLAI group at the University of Alberta and working with Rich on this project, which becomes an intersection of the NLP and RL. This is a great example where a conversation turned into a mind-blowing experience – and not because of the winter in Alberta (I am from Siberia!) – but by being in the “mecca of RL” and having an opportunity to learn from Rich and the group.

Matthew: I would say it emboldened my research trajectory. My interests are still the same — i.e using reinforcement learning to make predictions of the world through interactions — but I am more excited about this topic and how it relates to the wider AI community. The scope of my research has also widened. While before I was very narrow in what I thought was the way forward, I am now looking towards many communities I had not considered (or was even aware of!).

Raksha: [The] chance to discuss my research with some leading researchers, listen to their experiences and thoughts about what’s to come and where we are headed, meet and interact with peers who are pursuing interesting problems in their research, etc., has been very inspiring!

4. What was the most valuable thing you learned or experienced at the event?

Katya: Being able to connect with people and learn from them … [S]uch as having an opportunity to ask Graham Neubig hundreds of questions and get most practical answers, learning about RLAI Lab from the people in that group and connecting with people there, being deeply inspired by Martha White and Jamie Kiros.

Matthew: I found the most value in how my view on the field was expanded. The exposure of ideas and topics that I hadn’t yet seen sparked many ideas that I want to explore in my future research. It gave me perspective on the massive amount of work that is still left, but with that the many interesting topics still unexplored.

Raksha: I have always heard about the general [Deep Learning/Reinforcement Learning] community being large and diverse, but this was my first hands-on experience of it. It was invaluable to meet and interact with peers from various countries! The Summer School was filled with energy from day one — and we got a sneak-peak into the breadth of research in the community, in a classroom-like setting, which was really valuable!

Visit dlrlsummerschool.ca for more information.