RBC launches machine learning lab in U of A, announces Dr. Richard Sutton as head academic advisor

RBC Research, which was first established at the University of Toronto’s Banting Institute to publish new research in machine learning and artificial intelligence, will establish a new lab at the University of Alberta. The lab will work with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii).

Dr. Richard Sutton, who is considered a pioneer in AI, was announced as head academic advisor to RBC Research.

“We are thrilled to be opening a lab in Edmonton and to collaborate with world-class scientists like Dr. Sutton and the other researchers at Amii,” said Dr. Foteini Agrafioti, head of RBC Research. “RBC Research has built strong capabilities in deep learning, and with this expansion, we are well-poised to play a major role in advancing research in AI and impact the future of banking.”

Sutton is recognized for his work in reinforcement learning, an area of machine learning that focuses on making predictions without historical data or explicit examples. Reinforcement learning techniques have been shown to be particularly powerful in determining ideal behaviours in complex environments. Sutton is currently a professor and iCORE chair in the department of computing science at the University of Alberta.

“The collaboration between RBC Research and Amii will help support the development of an AI ecosystem in Canada that will push the boundaries of academic knowledge,” said Sutton. “With RBC’s continued support, we will cultivate the next generation of computer scientists who will develop innovative solutions to the toughest challenges facing Canada and beyond. We’ve only scratched the surface of what reinforcement learning can do in finance and are excited to unleash even greater possibilities with this collaboration between RBC Research and Amii.”

RBC Research is collaborating with the University of Alberta to provide opportunities like internships, academic collaborations, and exchanges with the Toronto-based research team to students and researchers.