RBC’s Borealis AI boosts Toronto lab with two new senior researchers

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Borealis AI has added new senior researchers to its team.

The RBC-led AI lab is welcoming University of Waterloo professor Pascal Poupart and York University professor Marcus Brubaker to its Toronto location.

“We are at a tipping point in Canada — the AI ecosystem is poised to become the true and material world leader in AI.”
– Foteini Agrafioti, chief science officer of Borealis AI

During his tenure at Waterloo, Poupart has collaborated with companies like Huawei, Google, Intel, and Ford. Much of his research has focused on real-world applications for machine learning, which will help RBC in its mission to discover applications for financial services. Working with a team from Waterloo, Poupart will split his time between teaching and Borealis AI. His research specialties include the development of algorithms for reasoning under uncertainty and machine learning, with application to assistive technologies, natural language processing, and telecommunication networks.

“We are thrilled to have Professor Poupart and Professor Brubaker continue their research as part of Borealis AI,” said Foteini Agrafioti, chief science officer and head of Borealis AI. “We are at a tipping point in Canada — the AI ecosystem is poised to become the true and material world leader in AI. When top talent chooses to join a Canadian company, and stay in Canada, we all benefit.”

Brubaker will be overseeing Borealis AI’s fundamental and applied research team in Toronto. His expertise in Bayesian machine learning, a set of methods for inferring things about the world in the presence of uncertainty, has previously led him to accelerate the discovery of molecular structures from cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM), a method for imaging frozen-hydrated specimens at cryogenic temperatures. Cryo-EM recently won the 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

In November 2017, Borealis AI expanded to Montreal, while also snagging a Washington State professor to join the Edmonton lab.