At the cutting edge of computer technology is the growing field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Increasingly research and companies capitalizing on that research are affecting our daily lives. Siri's suggestions on your smart phone, Facebook's facial recognition capabilities when tagging photos, the algorithms used by robo-investment sites, emerging self-driving vehicle technology are all examples of AI and machine learning.
Edmonton is a hub of artificial intelligence and machine learning in Canada. A research institute associated with the University of Alberta features in the national strategy on this type of research. Exciting entrepreneurial ventures are popping up in the city and world-class business labs are establishing divisions here.
What is artificial intelligence and machine learning?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) involves having computers, or machines, do tasks that appear to require human-level intelligence. Machine learning uses a set of algorithms that allow a computer to learn from data without being specifically programmed with that data, so in essence it learns from the data.
Why is Edmonton making a splash in this area?
The University of Alberta's computer science department is getting a tremendous amount of national and international attention. U of A has a large and growing faculty of researchers in the field and is also home to related institute AMII, the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute.
Edmonton was named as one of three hubs for AI research in Canada with the announcement of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy in the 2017 federal budget. The $125 million strategy will fund three AI institutes in Canada, including AMII over the course of the five year strategy designed to encourage innovation in the field.
U of A pops up as number 2 in the world for academic papers and research on AI and machine learning on CSRanking.org, an international ranking of computer science research institutions.
DeepMind, a research institution in the forefront of machine learning, chose Edmonton for its first lab outside the U.K. That decision caused a major ripple in the international science community. The Royal Bank's research and development lab Borealis AI also chose to establish a lab in the city to capitalize on the city's talent pool of graduating students and the growing AI community here.
"Great minds attract great minds," says Mario Nascimento, professor and chair of the U of A's department of computing science. "As a global leader in AI research the University of Alberta's many excellent professors and researchers produce leading-edge scientific discoveries and play a vital role in attracting and retaining top AI talent and companies to Edmonton."