Company Updates

AltaML Announces Launch of Applied AI Lab to Accelerate Skill Development in Calgary

October 1, 2020 3 min read
AltaML Updates

AltaML is excited to announce the launch of its applied data science internship program, the AltaML Applied AI Lab (AAIL), and its final two industry partners, Suncor and TransAlta Corporation, joining ATB Financial and Spartan Controls in providing real-world industry problems to the program as well as enabling controlled access to secure data. 

The global economy requires that every business be a technology business. Continual adoption of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) is essential to maintaining competitive advantage and the AI Lab brings together four forward-thinking Alberta companies from traditional sectors–energy, electricity, finance and industrial automation–to accelerate AI adoption. Each of the four industry partners are independently running their own digital transformation programs and the AI Lab will return additional value through continuous experimentation on machine learning (ML) use cases. 

As previously announced, the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) will provide up to $3.25 million in funding to AltaML over three years to support the AI Lab’s mandate to accelerate applied AI and ML skill development in Calgary. Over the three-year life of the AI Lab, approximately 240 paid interns will gain hands-on experience, creating a talent pipeline that will add significant capacity to Calgary’s innovation ecosystem. The AI Lab will therefore impact not only interns and partners but also the wider community in increasing the supply of applied skills essential to success in the new data-driven economy. 

A strong first cohort of eight interns with a foundational knowledge of AI and ML has been onboarded and will work together for three months under the guidance of AltaML team leads. These outstanding individuals with diverse experience levels and backgrounds were selected from over 500 applicants, reflecting workforce demand for the opportunity. Subsequent cohorts will be larger as AltaML integrates learnings. The AI Lab is being delivered on a remote basis until April 1, 2021, when a physical workspace will be opened, regulations permitting. 

“Creating value from data is an important part of the puzzle at Suncor as we look to gain competitive advantage by leveraging digital technology,” said Bruno Francoeur, Chief Transformation Officer, Suncor. “This work with the AI Lab is an example of how we’re working with experts to leverage data to support advanced analytics, timely decisions and efficiency in our teams.”

“As a Calgary-born company, we understand the evolving needs of our city and our province. Innovation and diversification are what we need to stay competitive and keep Calgary on the world stage,” said Dawn Farrell, TransAlta President and CEO. “The applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning are endless not only in our industry, but across all industries. We are thrilled to participate in this program because it provides our teams with direct access to a funnel of skilled data science practitioners with relevant industry experience to get the job done in the new, data-driven economy. We are excited to work with AltaML and our industry partners over the next three years to support education and innovation in our great city.”

“The AI Lab began as a big idea and engagement with the Calgary ecosystem allowed us to flesh out the model,” said Nicole Janssen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of AltaML. “We are really proud to have developed a program that addresses an acute, local need and to have ATB Financial, Spartan Controls, Suncor and TransAlta Corporation on board as partners. On behalf of AltaML I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our inaugural interns: you have earned a spot where you’ll learn valuable applied skills and become an AltaML ‘graduate’. We can’t wait to see what you will do!” 

About AltaML

AltaML is a leading developer of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions. Working with organizations that want to use AI to leverage their data to develop solutions that drive tangible business results, AltaML empowers partners to create operational efficiency, reduce risks and generate new sources of revenue. Through a deep understanding of organizational pain points and challenges, AltaML’s solutions encompass the entire machine learning (ML) life cycle, from evaluating potential use cases and determining feasibility to piloting solutions, putting code into production, and ensuring model evolution.

About the AI Lab

The AltaML Applied AI Lab is a collaborative industry-led initiative created with support from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) skill development in Calgary. 

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