Seeking applied projects for Probabilistic Graphical Models

Amii Fellow-in-residence Russ Greiner (Professor of Computing Science at the University of Alberta) is seeking potential projects this semester for students in his course on Probabilistic Graphical Models (PGMs) at the University of Alberta. PGMs have applications in areas such as bioinformatics, computer vision, natural language interpretation, sensor networks and more. Interested groups are invited to pitch projects for students at an upcoming open virtual session on September 23 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm (MT).

Projects will have students exploring interesting real-world problems through the lens of PGMs, including Bayesian belief nets, Markov random fields and other representations. PGMs are particularly well-suited for tasks related such as modelling expert knowledge or combining together different types of information.

“As a model of uncertainty, probability models are unparalleled in their ability to combine heterogeneous sources of evidence effectively.”

Dr. Russ Greiner

If you’re interested in pitching a possible project, reach out with a brief description of your proposed project – including a description of the nodes – to before September 21 (please include in your subject line “PGM Pitch”) – and we’ll help you assess if your pitch would make a relevant project.

If approved, each project pitch should include a few slides (or a “chalk-talk”) on the following:

  • Motivation – A high-level explanation of what you’re seeking to solve, why the proposed problem is relevant, why it’s a hard problem to solve
  • Connection to PGMs – What are the nodes and how are they related? Is this learning? Efficient inference? Foundational?
  • Current situation – Do you have (training) data already? If not, when will you get it? Or are you using a simulator? Is the task a theoretical exploration? What other problems might this approach help solve?

Alternatively, those unable to attend the pitch session on September 23 can send in a short description of the task (bullet points, a presentation slide, or a recorded video), and Dr. Greiner will pitch the project to students on your behalf. For inspiration, previous project examples can be found here:

Should a student team decide to take on your project, you’ll also be invited to optionally participate in the development of their ideas as a co-coach. Over the coming two months, each co-coaches join short, bi-weekly group meetings (4 in total), attend the presentations given by the group (two fifteen-minute sessions) and help to evaluate the team’s eight-page final report.

Not sure if you have the right project? Brush up on probabilistic graphical models in Russ’ AI Seminar on Bayesian Belief Nets:

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