February @ Amii | AAAI Conference, New CIFAR Chairs & Apply for AI4Good!

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January was a time for the Amii team to harness our collective optimism for the year ahead. We spent the month digging into how we can use this renewed energy to focus on creating even more impact for those that we serve. 

2021 has already provided opportunities to celebrate our researchers:

  • The AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, one of the highest-ranked ML & AI conferences in the world, runs online this year from February 2 to 9. Amii is well represented, with 11 papers from our researchers accepted in the main track. Michael Bowling (Fellow & Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Amii) is also being named a Fellow of AAAI at the conference in recognition of his contributions and leadership in the field of AI, including his role in establishing the field of deep reinforcement learning.
  • On January 19, as part of CIFAR's AICan event, we welcomed 15 additional Canada CIFAR AI Chairs to the Amii family. The program is one of many ways we’re working to inspire world-changing machine intelligence for good and for all, and we are excited to have these researchers join us in advancing leading-edge research and translating scientific advancement into economic impact.

As part of our effort to foster more opportunities for women in AI, we're thrilled to offer the first Edmonton-based AI4Good Lab. From May 3 to June 22, a cohort of up to 30 participants from across Canada will participate in this full-time program, consisting of a machine learning bootcamp, hackathon and self-directed team projects. This program is an amazing opportunity to dive into an applied AI challenge with hands-on support and expert advice. Applications are open until February 15 -- learn more and apply now!

This month, the newsletter is full of opportunities - including program deadline extensions and many upcoming offerings from our partners and collaborators from across the country. 

See you over video chat soon, 


February Highlights: Research, Industry and Training 

Industry & Community Updates:

  • Our January Virtual AI Meetup featured Crys Vanier and the ISAIC team on computing resources for AI/ML projects and Washington State University student Brittany F. Davis on explainable reinforcement learning.
  • We are proud to sponsor Startup Edmonton’s Student DevCon. DevCon invites students to thrive beyond the classroom, explore an inspiring startup community and learn real-world practical skills! This year’s event is online and features three Amii Fellows: Matthew Guzdial, Matt Taylor and Nathan Sturtevant.
  • The second season of Shift by Alberta Innovates has begun, a podcast which spotlights the stories and technological advancements being made in Alberta. In episode one, Amii CEO Cam Linke talks about how Amii gives Alberta businesses strategic advantage through AI and ML adoption. 
  • Applications for Platform Calgary’s Junction program are open until February 28. Junction is a 9-week residency program that helps startup entrepreneurs establish clear foundations for technology-driven businesses.
  • The TECTERRA BUILD Program is now accepting applications; the program is geared towards supporting Alberta startups and small/medium-sized companies working on innovative geospatial technology products.
  • Join StrikeUPCanada for their March 4 virtual conference! This event showcases and unites women entrepreneurs, aiming to help them own their future and lead Canada's economic recovery.
  • The 4th annual CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship funding opportunity is open! This program supports impact-oriented career paths for PhD trainees and post-doctoral fellows by providing opportunities for experiential learning within health system organizations.

Research Updates:

  • A team of researchers from UAlberta including Amii researcher Kalmady Vasu and Fellow-in-Residence & Canada CIFAR AI Chair Russ Greiner are back in the news for the EMPaSchiz tool, an ensemble ML model which has predicted a diagnosis of schizophrenia with 87% accuracy using patient brain scans.
  • The University of Alberta’s AI4Society group has aired the first two episodes of their new podcast AI4Society Dialogues, which explores challenges and concerns as AI becomes an increasingly prevalent aspect of our world. So far, they have interviewed Amii co-founding researcher Jonathan Schaeffer and Fellow & Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Amii Michael Bowling
  • Research scientist at DeepMind Alberta and Amii alumnus Marlos C. Machado presented at the AI Seminar on January 22 on autonomous navigation of stratospheric balloons using reinforcement learning.
  • UAlberta Professor at the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry Finlay McAlister discussed the Alberta Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research Support Unit and health research opportunities for computing scientists at the January 15 AI Seminar.
  • The first AI Seminar of 2021 featured Simon Fraser University Assistant Professor & Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Amii Mo Chen, presenting on optimal control and ML in robotics.

Training Updates:

  • The Opportunities for Women in AI lunch and learn was Amii’s first live broadcast of the year; it explored the exciting initiatives and opportunities for women in AI in Alberta and showcased the province-wide approach to developing female leadership in AI.
  • Are you interested in learning about AI & ML but don't know where to start? Check out our ML Foundations 1 class, happening online on March 4 -- register now
  • If you’ve already taken ML Foundations 1, dive deeper into the technical topics at the ML Foundations 2 class! Register now for the February 11 class.
  • We’re looking to gain insight into the skill gaps that are being experienced in business and to learn what steps companies are taking to increase their AI adoption. Take our survey today.

Program Applications - Deadline Extensions


REMI - Recruiting For Our First Agriculture Cohort

Bring together a team of high-performers, from across business units, to experience specialized programs and services geared towards agriculture sector domain experts. We have taken some of our most in-demand offerings and made them even better by developing sector-specific knowledge bases, and creating opportunities for networking, peer-to-peer mentorship, and ongoing professional development opportunities for your team. 

  • Applications close on February 15, 2021
  • Programming begins the week of March 15, 2021

Learn more and apply today!

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Supply Chain AI West

Supply Chain AI West is a competitive accelerator program with space available for up to 10 ventures that share SCALE AI and Amii’s vision of positioning Canada as a global leader in AI and supply chain management.

To make up the cohort of 10 ventures, we are seeking seven startups. Additionally, up to three places will be considered for early-stage founders looking for a de-risked and supportive environment to begin their business through participation in a cohort-based program.

Taking a sprint approach, you’ll experience a variety of activities with Amii, building upon your progress in the previous sprint. Activities include training, coaching, peer-to-peer network events, office hours, investor prep and a demo day.

  • Applications are now open with rolling acceptance!
  • Programming begins March 15, 2021

Book a meeting today!

Upcoming Events

February 12: AI Seminar – Denise Campbell-Scherer

Dr. Denise Campbell-Scherer is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, and the Associate Dean of the Office of Lifelong Learning and Physician Learning Program at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on innovations to transform clinical practice which result in change of benefit to patients, providers and the healthcare system.

Register now

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February 16-19: Startup Edmonton’s Student DevCon

Startup Edmonton’s biggest student event of the year is back and bigger than ever! Join more than 350 technical students from programs & schools across Western Canada for four amazing days of workshops, panels, games, skill-building, and more, all at your convenience.

Grab your free ticket

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February 18: Virtual AI Meetup

Gather with the brightest minds in the AI community from Alberta and beyond at Amii’s Virtual AI Meetup! Each meetup features two presenters; at the end of each presentation, participants will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session. Speakers to be announced.

RSVP today!

February 26: AI Seminar – Kiri Wagstaff

Kiri Wagstaff is an Associate Research Professor at Oregon State University and a Principal Researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she designs machine learning systems for spacecraft and space science applications. 

Register now

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March 4: StrikeUP 2021 Digital Conference for Women Entrepreneurs

Join us as we learn from globally-renowned Canadian women leaders and network to help lead Canada’s economic recovery! Register now for free for the StrikeUP 2021 virtual conference to invest in yourself and to grow your business in 2021, gaining access to growth partners, mentorship and finance.

Get your free ticket now

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May 3 to June 22: AI4Good Lab in Edmonton

Applications are open until February 15 for the AI4Good program in Edmonton! A cohort of up to 30 women from across Canada will participate in this full-time program, consisting of a machine learning bootcamp, hackathon and self-directed team projects. Instructors and mentors include university researchers, graduate students and practitioners from startups, corporations, intergovernmental organizations and city government. There's also a strong emphasis on curiosity-driven learning and mentorship both from peers and industry experts.

Learn more and apply

See a full list of Amii and partner events on our Events page.

Career Opportunities

  • Amii is recruiting a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta who will work with two or more Fellows to conduct novel and transformative research. View the posting for more details.

Recommended Readings 


In our January newsletter we shared the research article Adapting Behavior via Intrinsic Reward: A Survey and Empirical Study. Two co-authors were missed from the inclusion Nadia M. Ady and Thomas Degris. Please join us in congratulating them on the publication. 

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