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Tag: Artficial Intelligence

Join Edmonton Global at World Summit AI

World Summit AI is the world’s leading and largest AI summit bringing together the global AI ecosystem of industry, technology, startups, investors and science. Many of the world’s biggest AI and tech companies participate as speakers, covering the trending topics that are top of mind in the AI world.

This year Edmonton Global has partnered with Invest in Canada and the Trade Commissioner in the Netherlands and will be launching a taking over the Canadian booth on October 22, 2020 from 7:00 to 9:00am (MST) to share some of the exciting things that are happening in the AI ecosystem in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. Forward thinking initiatives, like the Pan Canadian AI strategy have built an ecosystem around artificial intelligence and machine learning that is world class and the region has attracted some of the worlds brightest minds in AI including Richard Sutton, Michael Bowling and Patrick Pilarski.

These strengths are being leveraged by both local industry and international firms as the region continues to gain recognition around the globe. Led by investments from Google DeepMind and Google Brain, Microsoft, and Apple and anchored by the University of Alberta – ranked 3rd in the world for AI research, the Edmonton region continues to grow and expand its AI expertise. The region is attracting a lot of attention with large multinationals like Toyota, Volkswagen, and IBM looking to chase the talent that exists here.  

“More and more the world is waking up to the fact that AI has the ability to transform business – to improve business operations, increase efficiencies and accelerate scalability” says Edmonton Global’s Amanpreet Bhatti, who will be the host of Canada’s booth. “We’re bringing together academic and industry leaders to showcase the incredible talent and expertise that exists here and provide a platform to showcase our region to the world.”

Amanpreet Bhatti, Business Development Associate, Edmonton Global

At the summit, Edmonton Global will be joined by a number of leaders and researchers from the Alberta Machine Intelligence (Amii), part of the Pan Canadian AI Strategy, to talk about how their organization can partner with industry to assist with adoption of AI tools. They’ll share some of the interesting things that they are working on and provide an overview of the AI ecosystem in Edmonton.

We’ll also be hosting local business leaders from AltaML, whose business model is focused helping businesses to integrate AI into their operations, as well as Williams Engineering, who has benefitted from building such a partnership with AltaML. You’ll hear how businesses working in traditional sectors are successfully leveraging the strength of AI to expand their business model into the tech space.

We’ll also be sharing perspectives from a global data analytics firm, Ixonn, which has recently chosen the Edmonton region as the location for their North American headquarters and central hub for their research and development and you’ll hear why Google DeepMind chose the Edmonton region as the location for its first international research lab.

If all that isn’t enough to convince you that this event is not to be missed, visitors to our takeover of the Canada booth will have the opportunity to test their poker skills against an actual AI with Amii’s Deepstack demonstration.

We’re looking forward to connecting with you virtually and sharing with you some of the opportunities that exist for your business in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

You can access discounted tickets to World Summit AI here.

VR app gives students a new way to see inner workings of cells

Virtual reality learning tools point to future of post-secondary education, says U of A cell biologist.

U of A cell biology professor Paul LaPointe helped create a virtual reality app that gives medical students a 3-D view of what’s happening inside cells and how drugs work. (Photo: Jordan Carson)

An educational app created at the University of Alberta is giving cell biology students a brand new perspective on their subject and may also offer a glimpse into the not-so-distant future of post-secondary education.

The Cell 101 VR App shows students a virtual reality perspective of the inner workings of cells and their interactions, allowing them to visualize cell biology in a way they never could before.

“Everything that cells do is because of their internal machinery, but how this machinery is constructed from proteins and other biomolecules is very hard for students to conceptualize,” said Paul LaPointe, an associate professor of cell biology at the U of A who helped create the application. 

He said it’s a difficult concept to illustrate and contextualize, making it difficult for students to understand that when a drug does something in the cell, it’s because it fits in the recesses of the proteins inside, preventing them from taking a mechanical action. 

“If you can tap into their imagination so that they start painting pictures for themselves and conceptualize what’s happening mechanically, then all the other stuff you have to teach becomes a little easier.”

The virtual reality (VR) app gives students a 3-D picture of the cell and what is happening inside. Instead of a static two-dimensional image seen in textbooks, learners can rotate the components to examine them from all angles, forming a complete picture in their minds.

The project began with a conversation between LaPointe and the Cognitive Projections (CogPro) group in the U of A’s Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory. CogPro is an initiative to explore new ways of teaching health sciences through emerging technologies such as virtual reality. With LaPointe acting as the content matter expert, the team developed the app over about 18 months.

It uses Google Cardboard, a virtual reality platform developed by Google for use as a head mount for a smartphone. When users put on VR glasses, they can see four floating boards, each containing information and animations of elements of a cell structure, including lipids, bi-layer proteins and a large-scale image of the cell itself.

“I had 120 students standing in a lecture theatre looking at these things during a demonstration, and it worked amazingly well. They all loved it,” said LaPointe.

Future of education

The app is mostly being used as a teaching aid for individual students or small groups due to the limited number of VR sets. But LaPointe believes it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what could be done to enhance the education of learners—many of whom are increasingly moving away from traditional patterns of learning and embracing new technologies.

“I asked my students if there was anything else they’d like to see from the course incorporated into the app, and the list was everything. Between all the students who responded, it was every single thing we learned,” said LaPointe.

He believes the future of post-secondary education will involve chaptered apps eventually replacing expensive textbooks, saving learners hundreds of dollars for each textbook they don’t have to buy.

Another technology that shows great promise in transforming learning is augmented reality (AR)—superimposing a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world.

LaPointe believes AR could already be used to great effect in textbooks today, linking instructional videos to specific pages through a code that could be scanned through a smartphone.

While his work to date has focused on building the Cell 101 VR app, LaPointe hopes to also delve into AR in the near future. He is already taking steps through the U of A’s Heritage Youth Researcher Summer (HYRS) Program, working with high school summer students on augmented reality learning apps. The program is funded by Alberta Innovates with an aim to build expertise in Digital Health in Alberta. Together they are getting a head start on a new technological revolution LaPointe expects will soon transform post-secondary education.

“This is not going to go away. This is going to be done properly and everywhere very soon.”

Wild Blue Yonder: How Latium’s tech boosts safety and efficiency in heavy industry

While Canada’s heavy industry was busy employing thousands and keeping Canada’s economic engine moving, there was one thing the sector still needed: the next generation of technologies to keep up with its unique fleet and safety needs.

Enter Latium: a group of companies with a tech division providing tools to industry that help them see beyond just equipment by using real-time data to solve problems like safety, downtime, inventory, rework and energy consumption, to name a few.

Located in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, Latium has become the go-to solutions provider for multi-billion dollar companies like Suncor, Enbridge, and the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Their solution is called Yonder: a platform that pulls data from wireless sensors deployed across a job site, analyses and decodes it, and sends it to a user interface where it organizes the data for easy client viewing. This gives companies a birds-eye view of their fleet operations by tracking and monitoring driver behaviour, idle time, energy consumption, and potential vandalism, as examples.

Yonder,  a technology that pulls data from wireless sensors for heavy industry

Latium’s technology is part of what is known as the Industrial Internet of Things (lIoT): a network of intelligent computers and devices that collect and share huge amounts of data. Accessing this data in one user-friendly space takes the guesswork out of identifying issues so businesses can get working on fixes. Latium has been a trailblazer in this space, creating solutions that didn’t exist before for heavy industry.  

“We weren’t happy with what the market was providing so we started developing our own technologies. We needed certain data and functionality for our clients, and 10 years ago we began developing technologies, starting with the challenge of driver behaviour to reduce fatalities and accidents. We then created a brand new concept, growing the model,” said Lori Pecorilli, co-founder and president of Latium.

By combining technology with 24/7 monitoring and reporting and using big data, accident data and information on driver use, companies using Latium’s technology were able to eliminate driver fatalities and the need for workers to enter hazardous areas to retrieve data. Yonder is also rugged— built to withstand harsh Canadian winters and remote worksites. It also works with multi-communications platforms like WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular, radio, satellite and more — important features for assets in huge mining and industrial operations.

With Latium’s help, Suncor — a major player in Canada’s oilsands — was able to improve the performance of their shovels by 30%, a huge win for productivity. The sensors can be used to monitor equipment and assets on remote and non-remote job sites in any industry, turning job sites into “smart sites.”

Lori Pecorilli, co-founder and president of Latium

Latium credits the Edmonton Metropolitan Region with creating the right ecosystem for innovation and the development of fast-paced tech solutions.

“We have an advantage working in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region because we are trained by the fast-paced energy sector,” says Pecorilli. “Businesses here know how to move and pivot quickly. On the tech side, we benefit from a lot of local, government-based support and are able to hire some great skillsets, either from universities or other diverse demographics.”

What’s next for Latium? The company has set its sights on international markets, including West Africa, South Africa, Mexico and the Silicon Valley.

Alberta Innovates, IRAP, EDC (Economic Development Canada), the Alberta Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Business Development Canada (BDC) and the University of Alberta have all collaborated with Latium, showing that regional partnerships also play a role in helping support investment and the creation of emerging technologies in the region.

Learn more about Latium’s innovative technologies here: https://www.thelatiumgroup.com/

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