With Nymi co-founder at head, new RBC lab working on machine learning at U of T

Today, RBC announced that it was supporting two new initiatives at the University of Toronto to foster Canada as a leader in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

One of its initiatives include establishing the RBC Research in Machine Learning practice at the Banting Institute at the University of Toronto. The practice will be led by Dr. Foteini Agrafioti, the co-founder and co-inventor of Nymi.

“This has really never been done before in Canada,” said Dr. Agrafioti, who was named Inventor of the Year in 2012 by the University of Toronto for inventing HeartID. “We’ve lost so much talent in this country to other companies and institutions, but RBC has both the scale and commitment to ensure Canada remains a centre of excellence in machine learning.”

The RBC Research in Machine Learning team will collaborate with academics from the University of Toronto and other institutions, publishing new research in machine learning and artificial intelligence. They will also connect to teams within the bank working on artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide expertise and help solve business challenges. The news comes the same week that TechTO released its research report outlining Toronto’s potential to be a machine learning hub.

“RBC Research in Machine Learning is part of our commitment to the advancement of machine learning and artificial intelligence in Canada,” said Gabriel Woo, vice-president of innovation at RBC. “We are not only building our own capabilities, we’re also big believers in creating jobs in this space to retain the amazing talent we have in Canada. We’re working with leading universities across Canada like the University of Toronto to partner with the best, brightest and boldest minds in the country.”

RBC is also establishing a partnership with the Creative Destruction Lab, its seed-stage program for science-based company. RBC will be contributing to its programming fund and assume a role on the Lab’s Advisory board.

“We’re thrilled to partner with RBC on this initiative,” said Rachel Harris, director of The Creative Destruction Lab. “With their support we are able to scale our program. We are now home to 50 AI companies. To our knowledge, this is the greatest concentration of AI companies in any program on Earth.”

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor.