Canada: Concordia University launches its Applied AI Institute

On March 18, Montreal’s Concordia University launched its Applied AI Institute and announced the appointments of Tristan Glatard and Fenwick McKelvey as co-directors. As such, they will contribute to the development of the institute’s interdisciplinary activities, partnerships and interests.

Founded in 1974, Concordia University has two campuses located in Montreal. Ranked Canada’s best university under 50, it stands out for its innovative approach based on experiential learning and cross-functional research.

Concordia welcomes more than 50,000 students each year to the Faculty of Arts and Science, the John Molson School of Business, the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, the Faculty of Arts and Concordia Continuing Education. It has 6,700 professors and employees, and records annual sponsored research revenues of more than $60 million.

Concordia’s research areas are:

  • Smart, sustainable and resilient communities and cities;
  • Health;
  • Synthetic biology;
  • Aerospace;
  • Artificial intelligence.

Concordia is also one of the 7 university members of SCALE AI, a Canadian supercluster that funds AI initiatives: industry-led projects, training programs and its Acceleration program.

The Applied AI Institute

In 2021, Prof. Tristan Glatard co-founded the Applied AI Institute with Prof. Kash Khorasani from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Nizar Bouguila from the Institute of Information Systems Engineering. Both will remain associated with the institute as founding directors and will add their research expertise and leadership to the institute’s capabilities.

The two co-directors

Prof. Tristan Glatard holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Big Data Infrastructures for Neuroinformatics. Prior to joining Concordia in 2016, he was a researcher at the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique in France and a visiting researcher at McGill University. Currently a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the Gina-Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, his research focuses on designing frameworks that enable efficient, open, and reproducible neuroinformatics for medical image analysis. and neuroimaging. He said upon his appointment:

“It is a privilege for me to continue the extraordinary efforts of my colleagues. The institute has grown exponentially in a very short time since its founding last year. I will strive, through my work, to honor the excellence of my colleagues and amplify the innovation that research conducted at Concordia brings to the global AI ecosystem. »

Fenwick McKelvey, professor in the Department of Communication at Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will therefore join Tristan Glatard to lead the institute. It studies the infrastructure of the Internet, examining the AIs, daemons (computer program that runs in the background) and bots that lurk in our networks. In his research, Prof. McKelvey explores the legitimacy of AI as a solution to media problems and the increased use of software in communications infrastructure.

His expertise in information and communications technology policy in Canada, his openness to dialogue and his commitment have earned him guest appearances as a commentator by various media, such as CBC Power and Politics, The National, The Guardian and Wired. He assures :

“Artificial intelligence raises governance issues and challenges our traditions of technology regulation. Solutions must be interdisciplinary. »

He adds :

“The institute creates tools and spaces for discussion not only to solve the problems of today, but also to imagine a better future. »

With more than 95 professors and 200 graduate students, the Applied AI Institute collaborates with eight research centers across Concordia University’s four faculties, including the Center for Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence .

It will focus on three areas of research:

  • the effects of AI applications on society as a whole;
  • deep learning methods in scientific medical imaging;
  • the integration of AI in smart cities, industry and manufacturing, and aerospace.

Women are underrepresented in the fields of engineering and computer science, one of the main priorities of the institute will be to foster a diverse and inclusive environment.

The four pillars of the Applied AI Institute

  • Collaboration
    – Large-scale projects rooted in social and economic reality.
    – Research-driven ideas developed from A to Z.
  • Innovation
    – Innovative technologies in all areas of research related to AI at Concordia.
    – Ethical and safe frameworks for developing ideas and technologies.
  • Training
    – Training to ensure the success of the next generation in the rapidly evolving field of AI.
  • Partnership
    – External agreements with government, industry and higher education. Paula Wood-Adams, Acting Vice-Rector for Research and Graduate Studies at Concordia says:

“Integrating our cutting-edge AI research with the work of innovative partners has yielded significant results, which shows Concordia’s unique approach to applied AI. The Institute of Applied AI has been a multidisciplinary network since its inception, and the new appointments reflect the value of collaboration that we will continue to bring to the service of society, science and emerging technologies. »

The institute plans to eventually offer services to students, researchers, and the broader AI community, including training opportunities and start-up support.

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Canada: Concordia University launches its Applied AI Institute

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