Oshawa’s Durham College launches AI research hub

ai hub

Oshawa’s Durham College has launched an AI hub to support small and medium-sized businesses with access to technologies.

The Durham College Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Systems will be housed in the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The hub is focused on how “narrow AI” can be used to help SMEs get a competitive advantage through the adoption of AI. Narrow AI refers to any software that uses technologies such as machine learning (ML), decision support, natural language processing and automation to recommend strategic options and make decisions autonomously.

“The promise of AI is bold, but for the 98 percent of Ontario businesses that identify as SMEs the challenges of AI adoption are significant,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean of ORSIE. “SMEs need help understanding this complex field, accessing resources and data, and figuring out how they intersect with their business. The AI Hub was born out of our team identifying the need to bridge this gap between AI and the organizations who stand to benefit from it.”

The hub also provides DC students and alumni opportunities to gain AI and ML skills and experience to improve their competitiveness. As part of the hub’s establishment, DC also launched three internal projects to accelerate the college’s adoption of AI, and commissioned a new GPU Accelerated AI Systems Lab for research and teaching purposes.

The college announced its eighth AI applied research project launched in 2017. DC and Toronto-based flitePLAN International (flitePLAN) are partnering on a project using AI and advanced development techniques to address the financial and ecological benefits of fuel optimization in commercial aviation.

“Fuel is the single largest variable expense for an airline and its efficient use often is the difference between profitability and loss for a carrier,” said Bernard Gonsalves, founder and CEO of flitePLAN. “Using AI and predictive modeling, our proprietary platform will create unique fuel-saving profiles for each commercial flight, providing expert recommendations to the captain on ways that fuel can be saved while still maintaining safety and conforming to regulatory requirements. We are excited to work with DC’s AI Hub to advance our adoption of AI and mobile application development.”

Photo via Durham College