Community & Events

Event Round-Up | April 2019

Amii Events

Meet members of the Amii team, connect with like-minded people, and learn the latest about what’s happening in Machine Intelligence at Amii events! Here’s where we’ll be this month:

Hello Amii! Info Session

Hello Amii! is your introduction to the Amii Innovates program and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute. Learn how our experts can guide your teams and processes to help build your machine intelligence capabilities and propel your business to the next level. We want to help you go beyond small-scale AI projects and jumpstart your in-house ability to develop your own plans around artificial intelligence and machine learning and drive the next stage of growth for your business.

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


April 25 – Edmonton
Register today!
12 – 1 p.m.
Amii HQ
#1101, 10065 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 3B1

April 30 – Calgary
Register today!
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Global Business Centre, Terrace View Room
5th Floor – 120 8 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2G 0K6

Amii’s AI Meetup

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

April 29
Register today!
5:15 – 7:15 p.m.
Startup Edmonton
#301, 10359 104 Street Northwest
Edmonton, AB T5J 1B9

April AI Seminars

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.

Organized by and hosted at the University of Alberta, each AI Seminar happens (unless otherwise specified) at 12 – 1 pm in the Computing Science Center, CSC B-10 (floorplan). Plus, pizza is provided for all attendees!

April 26: Dr. Mo Chen

Speaker: Dr. Mo Chen

Title: Reachability-Based Robotic Safety and Reinforcement Learning

Abstract: Autonomous systems are becoming pervasive in everyday life, and many of these systems are safety-critical and complex. To provide safety guarantees, formal verification methods such as reachability analysis are needed. However, verification is computationally intractable for complex systems. During this seminar, Dr. Chen presents recent techniques that leverage system structure to make reachability analysis tractable, and discusses recent advances in effectively incorporating prior knowledge about robotic systems to greatly improve sample complexity.

Speaker Bio: Mo Chen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University, BC, where he directs the Multi-Agent Robotic Systems Lab. He completed his PhD in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department at the University of California, Berkeley with Claire Tomlin in 2017, and received his BASc in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia in 2011. From 2017 to 2018, Mo was a postdoctoral researcher in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department in Stanford University with Marco Pavone. His research interests include multi-agent systems, safety-critical systems, reinforcement learning, and human-robot interactions.

Keep up to date with the AI Seminars by subscribing to the AI Seminar Speakers Google Calendar.

Together with the University of British Columbia, Amii is pleased to welcome two additional Canada CIFAR AI Chairs to our family! Congratulations to Mark Schmidt and Kevin Leyton-Brown as they join a rapidly growing community of world-leading researchers in Canada.

The prestigious Canada CIFAR AI Chairs program, funded by the Federal government with $86.5 million over five years, provides researchers with long-term, dedicated research funding to support their research programs and help them to train the next generation of AI leaders.

Learn more about the brilliant researchers who are helping to drive the future of machine intelligence below:

Using big data to make big decisions

Headshot of Mark Schmidt

The data we collect today – both in the physical and digital world – is vast, and growing exponentially. What can we do with such information? Mark Schmidt, Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, has dedicated his career to exploring the challenges that come with learning complicated models from large datasets.

“My work is mainly focused on foundational aspects of machine learning,” explains Schmidt. “In order to improve our ability to deal with larger and larger datasets, I focus on mathematical explainability and on accelerating and verifying fundamental machine learning algorithms.”

Schmidt received his PhD at the University of British Columbia, where he is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science. Originally from Edmonton, Schmidt completed his MSc at the University of Alberta and was one of the first students employed at Amii (then AICML). In 2018, Schmidt received the prestigious Lagrange Prize in Continuous Optimization, awarded once every three years by the Mathematical Optimization Society (MOS) and SIAM for an outstanding contribution in the area of continuous optimization. He is currently an Associate Fellow in the CIFAR Learning in Machines & Brains program and Canada Research Chair in Large-Scale Machine Learning.

Drawing together theoretical tools from different disciplines

Headshot of Kevin Leyton-Brown
Photo Credit: Paul Joseph for UBC Brand and Marketing

You can find Kevin Leyton-Brown at the intersection of computer science and microeconomics. Inspired by interdisciplinary collaboration, Leyton-Brown conducts research in two distinct areas: the design and analysis of markets (“algorithmic game theory”) and the automated construction of algorithms.

“My current research focuses on using machine learning to customize algorithms for different practical settings,” says Leyton-Brown. “Recent projects have included helping to design and to conduct a $20 billion reallocation of radio spectrum across the US and Canada from broadcast television to mobile; helping Ugandan farmers to sell surplus crops using basic phones; designing an open-source peer grading system that incentivizes hard work; and building realistic computational models of human behaviour in strategic settings.”

Leyton-Brown is a professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia and an associate member of the Vancouver School of Economics. He holds a PhD and MSc from Stanford University. He has co-written two books and over 100 peer-refereed technical articles. He was elected Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in 2017 and ACM Distinguished Member in 2018. With a team of 18 others, he was awarded the INFORMS Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences, described as “the leading O.R. and analytics award.” He is currently Chair of ACM SIGecom and has served as associate editor for the Artificial Intelligence Journal (AIJ) and the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR).

In 2017, CIFAR was chosen by the federal government to lead the $125M Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy in collaboration with artificial intelligence research centres in Edmonton (Amii), Montreal (Mila), and Toronto (Vector Institute). The 16 newly named Canada CIFAR AI Chairs come from universities from across Canada, including Université de Montréal, McGill University, University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University, University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, as well as the University Hospital Network. The Canada CIFAR AI Chairs Program is expected to grow to more than 60 Chairs by 2020.

Edmonton’s history of global AI dominance

The University of Alberta launched Canada’s first computing science department, dating back to 1964. Recent events—including the announcement of DeepMind’s first international research laboratory—have truly cemented Edmonton’s excellence on the global map. According to the acclaimed CS Rankings, UAlberta ranks within the top five in the world for artificial intelligence and machine learning research.

Amii was founded in 2002 as a joint effort between UAlberta and the Government of Alberta with the goal of creating a world-class machine intelligence research centre. The organization has since spun out from UAlberta, while maintaining a strong partnership, with support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of Alberta and CIFAR—in order to drive new levels of discovery and innovation in AI and machine learning.