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AI4S Launch Report

AI4Society Internal Launch Event Report

This report summarizes the Internal Launch of the AI4Society Signature Area. The event was held on September 25th, 2020 and consisted of two parts.

In the morning we had an Introduction to the AI4Society Signature Research Area and Collaboratories. Eleni Stroulia introduced the objectives and activities of AI4Society  and Geoffrey Rockwell introduced collaboratories, a key initiative of AI4Society. We then had Bo Cao and Russ Greiner talk about their Computational Psychiatry collaboration. For more on Collaboratories see 

In the afternoon we had a pecha-kucha-style event, entitled “Our University, Our Work: Artificial Intelligence Around Campus” with seven short presentations. 

  1. To Test or Not to Test? An Intelligent Recommender System for Personalized Test Scheduling,
    by Okan Bulut – Faculty of Education
  2. Moving Together–Language, body, and the surround in mobile interaction,
    by Xiaoting Li – Faculty of Arts; Li Cheng – Faculty of Engineering
  3. The AI Invasion: How Workplace Artificial Intelligence Affects Career Preferences,
    by Noah Castelo – Alberta School of Business
  4. ML for engineering: discovery, understanding, and optimization,
    by Vinay Prasad – Faculty of Engineering
  5. Artificial intelligence analysis of ultrasound images: the 21st century stethoscope?
    by Jacob Jaremko – Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
  6. Identifying engagement while older adults play mobile games: A machine learning approach
    by Adriana Rios Rincon – Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
  7. Artificial Intelligence Assistant for Video Game Design
    by Matthew Guzdial – Faculty of Science

The two sessions (except the second pecha-kucha presentation) were recorded and are available to be watched here: <link>

Questions and Answers

  • Q: How do I become a member of AI4society?
    A: Email a short description of your research and how it relates to AI. We will contact you with a decision and next steps on how to update your profile on our web site.
  • Q: What is the relationship between AI4Society and Amii?
    A: Amii is one of the three not-for-profit centres, federally funded by the Pan-Canadian Strategy for AI. Amii is located in Edmonton and the majority of its Fellows are University of Alberta faculty.
  • Q: What does  Amii stand for.
    A: Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute. See 
  • Q: What are your main deliverables for the first few years?
    A: We hope to develop together a strong interdisciplinary research and teaching agenda.
  • Q: Are there any more details on the Data Science certificate you mentioned – is this similar to the Graduate Embedded Certificate in Data Science (DS)?
    A: The certificate is an undergraduate certificate that is in the early stages of development. Please talk to us if you are interested.
  • Q: We have an initiative for AI in structural engineering, how can AI4Society become part of future grants? Can you please elaborate on how this would look like?
    A: One of the best ways is for you to apply to become a Collaboratory. We have set aside resources to support Collaboratories include support for future grants. More generally, when applying for funding, especially large-scale requests, AI4Society can help develop a letter of support to document the institutional support to the project. 
  • Q: Do you have international engagement as part of your mandate or are you focusing on Alberta?
    A: We are absolutely interested in international engagement especially if we can support your research through partnerships.
  • Q: I am wondering whether the focus is mainly on academic research or there is room for applying research into designing “public policy”?
    A: The idea behind AI4Society is to support interdisciplinary research and community engagement which could definitely involve public policy. The Area is, after all, AI for “society.”
  • Q: There are terms like AI, machine learning, data science, etc. that all seem linked but distinct, can you summarize those differences, and how you think they interact with AI4Society?
    A: We take a fairly open view as to what we support. The goal of Signature Areas is not to define boundaries, but to support innovative and interdisciplinary research. However, here are some working definitions for these terms:
    • “Machine learning” refers to the development of algorithms through which data can be transformed into models, through which new data can (a) be classified into categories of interest, or (b) generate predictions for phenomena of interest.
    • “Data Science” refers more generally to all the processes involved in the manipulation of data, including data acquisition, cleanup and preprocessing, analysis through statistical and machine-learning methods, and storage.
    • “Artificial Intelligence” refers to a broad area of computational methods, including natural-language processing, machine learning, robotics and automation, computer vision etc.
  • Q: Do you have any partnership with South Korea?
    A: No, but we would love to talk to you about what sort of partnership would be helpful.
  • Q: If we have a germ of a Collaboratory that is not even this developed, how can we begin to see the connections across campus to get to the point we can apply?
    A: Talk to us. We are building networks and meeting people. We would be happy to introduce you to people or inquire through our contacts as to who might suit.
  • Q: What does sustainability look like for AI4Society?
    A: Sustainability would be Collaboratories that you lead that develop robust and funded research or teaching projects. We want you to be sustainable.
  • Q: This computational psychiatry collaboratory (like other AI/health projects) appears to lie within the domain of both AI4Society and Precision Health signature areas. What is the relation between the two signature areas? Are they defined so as to be mutually exclusive? Or is that unnecessary? Can projects affiliate with both?
    A: We are collaborating and happy to support other collaborations that cross Areas. For that matter we are also looking at intersections with SKIPP, Energy Systems, and Intersections of Gender. I don’t think any of us or the Office of the VPRI are worried about exclusivity. The goal is to support excellence.