AlbertaAI 2019 Annual Conference Overview

AlbertaAI 2019 Annual Conference Overview

AlbertaAI (Alberta Artificial Intelligence Association) hosted the first annual conference on March 23rd, 2019 at University of Alberta. The conference attracted about 350 participants from Alberta including AI experts, IT professionals, university professors, CS graduate students, and AI enthusiast from various industries.

The conference focused on “Cultivate Alberta AI Ecosystem” and featured thought-provoking keynotes presented by Alberta leading AI experts and VIP speakers from City of Edmonton, City of Red Deer, Silver Voice, AMII, U of A, TEC Edmonton, Taproot, AltaML, Health City and Calgary Google Developer Group.

Microsoft, MRC Lab of U of A, UAlberta Robomaster Club and student of AI for Kids Program presented demos during the coffee break.

Dr. Lihang Ying, President of AlbertaAI, gave an overview of the AI ecosystem in Alberta, what AlbertaAI has been doing and will do, and how AlbertaAI can help everyone position him/herself in the ecosystem.

Yueshan Tong from Chinese Consulate General in Calgary gave an overview of the science and technology cooperation between China and Canada & Alberta. Artificial Intelligence is one of the focused area of the China-Alberta collaboration. 

Andrew Knack, Councillor of City of Edmonton, shared his thoughts on the unique advantages Edmonton has in AI and how AI can improve our city.

Councillor Lawrence Lee from the City of Red Deer shared his thoughts on community collaboration and innovation.

Geoff Kliza, Director of Innovation Affiliates at Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (AMII). He guides businesses in becoming Machine Intelligence-ready and identifies high-impact opportunities to collaborate on research initiatives. He gave his advices on machine learning projects including economics count, start simple, etc.

Dr. Irene Cheng, Scientific Director of the Multimedia Research Centre at the University of Alberta. She focuses her research on human intelligence and perception in multimedia computing. Irene introduced the concept of “AI without Border” and the challenge of big data. Then she gave an overview of the multimedia MSc program in University of Alberta and how this program to cultivate AI professionals through 8 months of courses (including computer vision, image/video processing, AI in multimedia, virtual reality, graphics & animation, multimedia communications) and 8 months of internship.

Lan Tan leads the entrepreneur development program team at TEC Edmonton. She introduced how TEC Edmonton was dedicated to helping technology-based entrepreneurs grow their business skills and empower them to reach their business goals.

Mack Male, co-founder and CEO of Taproot Edmonton which publishes curiosity-driven stories about our community and is the most influential local tech and innovation media. Mack reviewed the AI-related news happened in Edmonton in 2018 and 2019 and shared his insights.

Cory Janssen, Co-Founder and CEO of AltaML, a local startup who builds transformational software applications for business, powered by machine learning, shared his real life ML lessons including not starting with the business problem, ML is confused with regular development, many executives never heard of Go, you need a full data science team, etc.

Reg Joseph, CEO of Health City. Reg introduced how Health City leverages Edmonton’s tremendous assets in health, health research, data, artificial intelligence and entrepreneurship to position the city as a premier location for health innovation.

Mike Hoff, COO of Google Developer Group Calgary, gave an overview of the Google Developer Group in Alberta and worldwide.

Panel Discussions

Meeting Highlights

AlbertaAI was funded by a group of passionate volunteers in September 2017. It is a non-profit organization with a vision to cultivate the Alberta AI ecosystem and connect the AI community in Alberta with the world. AlbertaAI has rapidly expanded and currently have over 400 members.

AlbertaAI has valued being part of the Alberta artificial intelligence community and have organized many high-profile AI seminars, panels, workshops, round-table discussions and training such as AI for Kids, Deep Learning Beginner / Advanced Camps, AI Entrepreneurship Camp, Data Science, Open Data, Kaggle Camp, and Meetups.

AlbertaAI is supported by the Alberta local community including UAlberta, TEC Edmonton, SAS, Microsoft, City of Edmonton, and student & community organizations. AlbertaAI has also contributed to local AI ecosystems by supporting events and activities, e.g., TusStar Alberta Incubator establishment, UAlberta International AI Summer Program, Edmonton Global AI Hub, AI4Youth Conference, Calgary AI Meetup, and Calgary Google Developer Group. In addition, AlbertaAI collaborate with international partners and have established a joint innovation centre with Shanghai Chiju to promote AI education and projects.