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DAL AI Symposium hopes to foster industry connections for N.S.

By Evan Taylor May 8, 2024 | 4:13 PM

Dalhousie University is hosting the province’s first-ever artificial intelligence (AI) symposium this week.

On Thursday, May 9, the event will feature workshops, keynote speakers and networking opportunities.

“There are so many talented people working in AI around Nova Scotia, but what we need is a platform to bring those people together and symposiums are one of the ways we hope to do that,” said organizer and Dalhousie Faculty of Computer Science Associate Professor Frank Rudzicz.

The event sold out quickly when tickets went on sale and Rudzicz says they received more than double the demand they anticipated.

Rudzicz is hoping this year’s event is the first of many and says many of the benefits from the inaugural edition won’t be seen until the future. “In the second of these symposiums, we’ll be able to talk about success stories from the first,” said Rudzicz. “Like this is a research project that started when these two people met at the symposium,”.

The idea is for the event to become an annual one, however, Rudzicz says details are still being ironed out and they want to see how the first one goes before locking in any plans.

“We don’t just want this to be a symposium and then you go home, so we are hoping to come out of it with action items from the workshops, and keep up with participants on what’s discussed long after the event wraps up,” said Rudzicz.

Keynote and Invited Speakers

One of the main components of the event is the keynote and invited speakers who come from various industries and research backgrounds leading the way in AI.

Rada Mihalcea, from the University of Michigan, will be discussing the narrow scope of current AI research in her keynote titled “Why AI Is W.E.I.R.D. And Shouldn’t Be This Way,” advocating for more diversity in AI to ensure its global applicability and fairness.

Doina Precup of McGill University and Google DeepMind will explore the potential of reinforcement learning in therapeutics, highlighting how it can revolutionize healthcare by improving treatment strategies.

Invited speaker Tara Sampalli, from Nova Scotia Health, will present on her leadership in integrating technology with community efforts to enhance patient-centric care in Nova Scotia, focusing on digital innovations like virtual care.

Lastly, Scott McKenna, Chief Information Officer of Nova Scotia Health, will discuss leading digital transformation in healthcare management, focusing on modernizing health services and developing comprehensive digital strategies.

Following the presentations, there will be a debate panel on the merits of fast or slow adoption of AI, featuring various researchers and people working directly with AI.