Last week Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) announced an investment of $30 million into artificial intelligence (AI) research in the Edmonton region. The investment will support the growth of one of the world’s largest AI research centres while supporting the recruitment of 20 new faculty members in AI at the University of Alberta. The University of Alberta is ranked 3rd globally in AI research – this investment will ensure ongoing growth of AI excellence in the Edmonton region and Canada as a whole.
Located in Edmonton, Amii is one of three national centres propelling AI research forward in Canada as part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy. The funding of $30 million was made possible through the support of the Government of Alberta and CIFAR as part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy. Working with industry partners, Amii is supporting the commercialization of AI research while providing industry solutions that incorporate AI. By investing in AI research, Amii seeks to create a bridge for both knowledge and talent in the Edmonton region and continues to drive forward the science and impact of that research to the rest of the world.
The University of Alberta has begun a global talent search and is actively recruiting 20 new AI research chairs to build on its current global leadership in AI research. Of 24 total chairs supported by the funding, four AI chairs have already been secured by existing faculty members. 15 of 20 new recruits will have a cross-faculty and cross-global focus. The remaining five new researchers will be assigned to computing science and they will join 31 researchers who are leading the field in fundamental AI research.
Of the 20 new AI chairs, some of the planned research chairs will include:
At the funding announcement, University of Alberta President, Bill Flanagan, applauded Alberta for building such a strong global reputation for being a hub for AI and AI research.
He added, “Edmonton has been cited as the fastest growing tech market in the last five years. The reason for our global reputation is due in part to the partnership the University of Alberta has with Amii.”
He anticipates that the impact of this investment will continue to signal to the world that the Edmonton region is uniquely positioned to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
During the event, Amii’s CEO, Cam Linke, shared, “Big challenges in the world will be tackled by this group. Think of the impact of rising health care costs and the effects of the pandemic. Even food security.”
Cam went on to say that AI can be used to assist in our national energy transition through utilizing AI in chemical and quantum science solutions. He added that Indigenous leaders would guide work done to advance AI in Indigenous epidemiology and Indigenous genomic data.
Amii will strategically leverage AI research in additional areas such as:
Cam explained that training would involve hundreds of thousands of learners and connecting those people with companies to continue the momentum of the Edmonton region’s ecosystem around Canada.
“Now is the time to double down on great ambitious science in artificial intelligence,” said Cam.