Artificial Intelligence Waterloo
The University of Waterloo has launched a comprehensive Artificial Intelligence Institute with the objective of connecting all levels of AI researchers with the industry. The main goal of the Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute will be to research areas with societal and business impact, including autonomous systems, healthcare, human-computer interaction, urban planning, and development. The announcement was made on Friday, April 6, in a panel discussion with Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
An initiative to boost artificial intelligence expertise
In a news release, Bains said Canada’s world-leading AI expertise will bring in millions in foreign investment every year. He also guaranteed that the government will continue to work on perking up the country’s AI capabilities.
The Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute will work towards promoting AI research in the campus and act as a platform for businesses and organizations to access their broad expertise in the area.
Waterloo AI will accelerate key AI research areas across the business, government and non-profit through a team of almost 100 faculty members.
Industry collaboration on AI
Electrical and computer engineering professor and co-director of the AI institute Fakhri Karray pointed out that industry association has always been one of University of Waterloo’s “major strengths”, adding that they want to ensure that the work carried out can “shine to the outside world and benefit society.”
Operational and foundational AI
Apart from focusing on catering to the real needs of industry, the AI institute wants to cover a complete range of exploration from foundational to operational AI. Foundational AI is about abstract research, like the planning of new algorithms for machine learning. On the other hand, operational AI is more about adjusting the tools that are already in use for applications that don’t rely on cloud computing resources.
Applying AI in the real-world
Associate professor and Canada Research Chair Alexander Wong mentioned that their capacity to use the research and translate it into real-world application in a way that actually has a big impact on society is what differentiates them from other artificial intelligence institutes.
Wong, along with his team of faculty members and students, is working on a variety of projects related to diverse fields.
Fakhri Karray, Co-director, and professor of electrical and computer engineering are working with his researchers to develop sensory systems for self-driving vehicles.
This AI technology is for finding out when the driver is falling asleep, is using the phone, or is in other precarious positions.
Kaylen Pfisterer, a Ph.D. candidate at the university, is researching on how one can assess the diet requirements of patients in care homes. The AI technology would achieve this by taking snaps of dinner plates before and after a meal and use the inputs to measure the nutrition needs in due course.
Apart from employing the staff of engineering and math, University of Waterloo’s AI Institute will also include researchers from the environment, science, arts and applied health sciences departments.
General Motors Canada, Nutrien, Shopify, Huawei, Loblaw Companies Ltd., and Magna International are among the businesses sponsoring the institute.