What a week! Thank you to each of the 2100 guests who helped make the inaugural AI Week a huge success — to the presenters, the sponsors and the attendees that joined us to celebrate 20 years of AI excellence: we couldn’t have done it without you!
Over four jam-packed days, we shared the story of Alberta's AI community at nearly 60 industry, academic and community events with more than 80 speakers from the business, scientific, government, startup and investment communities. Through a variety of events, including talks, panel discussions, fireside chats, mixers and socials, we brought together the top minds in the business and science of AI and machine learning and connected innovative organizations seeking to advance their AI goals with top talent working at the leading edge of the field.
To help bring the global AI community to Edmonton, Amii worked with our talent bursary sponsors to offer support for technical professionals to help cover the cost of travel and accommodations for AI Week. With more than 875 applications from 38 countries and 69 per cent of applicants identifying as part of an underrepresented community in STEM, bursaries were offered to emerging researchers and industry professionals looking to further their careers in AI. Ultimately, 515 bursaries were awarded, with more than 50 per cent of the recipients coming from outside of Alberta.
These individuals were given the unique opportunity to connect with both the academic and business communities in Alberta in order to identify their next research collaboration or career move.
Things kicked off with a keynote from Amii Fellow & Canada CIFAR AI Chair Martha White talking about reinforcement learning’s place as the next big thing in AI and how Alberta can continue our leadership in the field. Richard S. Sutton — Amii Fellow, Canada CIFAR AI Chair & Chief Scientific Advisor — discussed the future of artificial general intelligence and how scientists need to keep their ‘eyes on the prize’ of understanding intelligence. Fellow & Canada CIFAR AI Alona Fyshe’s presentation delved into how research into the structure of the human brain is fueling breakthroughs in AI.
In the final keynote of the week, Fellow & Canada CIFAR AI Chair Jacob Jaremko and Dornoosh Zonoobi, CEO of Medo.ai, talked about the trials and triumphs of founding a company and commercializing their AI-powered portable ultrasound technology.
AI Week’s full-day academic symposium allowed Amii researchers to share their groundbreaking work in machine learning while making connections with peers from around the world. Hundreds of researchers and students packed into the J.W. Marriott downtown for dozens of seminars, poster presentations and discussions detailing AI advancements by Amii’s Fellows and Canada CIFAR AI Chairs. Attendees discussed topics such as applying reinforcement learning to real-world problems, and using artificial intelligence for precision health, while hearing from Amii researchers including Michael Bowling, Nidhi Hegde, Jonathan Schaeffer, Adam White, Dale Schuurmans and others. Sutton’s keynote capped off the day, examining Alberta’s unique place in driving global machine learning research and laying out his prediction that human-level AI will be achieved in a few decades’ time.
Outside of the symposium, other events throughout the week brought together researchers, businesses and the general public to learn about the business and social impact of AI, responsible AI and more.
Industry leaders, including AI professionals, investors and government officials, shared their insights into successfully adopting AI into their organizations, how to ensure the responsible development of the technology and key considerations around the social and ethical implications of the field. Meanwhile, a range of community events built connections within Alberta’s vibrant AI community and showcased some of the innovative organizations moving AI forward in the province.
Panels, discussions and fireside chats focused on AI’s growing importance in the finance and investment worlds, developing scalable AI that fits any size organization, advancing AI in industry applications and even career paths for children interested in getting started. Additionally, Amii’s product teams hosted panels on AI as a competitive advantage and the work of Alberta’s startup community – with insights into how small companies can set themselves up for success in machine learning.
With so many intelligent and engaged AI-focused individuals in one place, businesses were looking to connect with their newest potential hires. The AI Week Talent Mixer helped make those connections by bringing together dozens of companies from a diversity of sectors for an afternoon of networking and relationship building at the newly completed Pendennis Building. The Mixer featured companies such as DeepMind, DrugBank, ATB Financial, RBC, Wyvern and NeuroSoph, among many others.
In addition to community events hosted by local teams from ISAIC, Dell and the Edmonton Police Foundation, AI Week helped other organizations lend their support to demonstrate their own leadership in the space. . AI Week was made possible in part through sponsorship from Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), AltaML, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation, ATB, Attabotics, BDC, DeepMind, Calgary Economic Development, CBRE, CIFAR, Drugbank, Edmonton Global, Edmonton International Airport, Explore Edmonton, Forethought.ai, iMining Technologies, Inflexion Games, Invest Alberta, NeuroSoph, PrairiesCan, PwC Canada, RBC, Samdesk, Sanctuary.ai, Servus Credit Union, TELUS, TELUS World of Science Edmonton and the University of Alberta.
Stay tuned for recordings from the AI Week sessions, which will be released in the coming weeks – sign up for the AI Week Insider’s List to get first access to the videos and for the latest details on next year’s event.
Feb 21st 2024
Learn more about the research and work of Dr. Patrick Pilarski, Amii Fellow and Canada CIFAR AI Chair. Patrick co-leads the BLINC Lab at the University of Alberta, and talks about how artificial intelligence is helping create the next generation of prosthetic limbs that respond to their user's needs.
Feb 13th 2024
Learn more about the two newest Canada CIFAR AI Chairs working with Amii, Elina Robeva and Geoffrey Rockwell
Feb 2nd 2024
Amii media highlights for 2024.
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