Artificial intelligence focus of new Brock conference

A new Brock University conference being held next week will dive into the world of artificial intelligence, shining light on and sparking conversations about various facets of the timely topic.

The inaugural AI Day at Brock will feature a wide range of multidisciplinary presentations that will help participants gain a better understanding of the science, ethics, applications and real-world impact of AI.

Open to the Brock community and members of the public, the free conference takes place Thursday, Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Pond Inlet. Participants can register for the entire event or choose to attend only in the morning or afternoon. Registration will be open until Tuesday, Nov. 7.

AI Day has been organized by the Faculty of Mathematics and Science’s Department of Computer Science as an annual initiative of the proposed Brock Centre for Artificial Intelligence.

“We are living in an AI era. AI is playing an important role, and making a huge difference, in every corner of our lives and within many sectors of industry,” says Computer Science Professor Beatrice Ombuki-Berman, who is helping organize AI Day with Computer Science colleagues and is co-leading initiatives for the proposed AI centre.

Ombuki-Berman says AI Day will promote the cutting-edge research being done at Brock and offer researchers an opportunity to receive feedback and make new connections that will hopefully lead to new collaborative initiatives and the continued growth of AI research at the University.

The day will feature nine technical presentations by Brock researchers on topics such as using AI in transportation and human movement and using AI for analysis, machine learning and predictions.

Brock researchers will also participate in a panel discussion on language models, and Brock faculty and students will present oral and poster session presentations about their AI-related research.

A featured technical presentation on AI for drug design will be led by Yifeng Li, Assistant Professor with Brock’s Departments of Biological Sciences and Computer Science. The Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning for Biomedical Data Science is also co-leading initiatives for the proposed AI centre alongside Ombuki-Berman.

Jad Kabbara, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Constructive Communication, will deliver a keynote address on human-centred AI that delves into two MIT projects.

Kabbara will discuss leveraging AI in social media to design alternative online communities that can analyze and facilitate conversation to help foster genuine and productive dialogues. He will also talk about MIT’s Data Provenance Initiative, which aims to provide clarity on data licensing and characteristics to promote responsible use in AI development.

Brian Ross, Professor and Chair with the Department of Computer Science, hopes the wide range of topics and multidisciplinary applications offered by AI Day appeal to researchers and students from across campus and inspire current and prospective students to pursue AI-focused research, careers and education.

“The Department of Computer Science is in a high-growth phase and artificial intelligence is a research and teaching strength of the department,” he says. “There has been active research in AI for many decades; however, within the last five years or so, the number of faculty working in different areas of AI has reached a critical mass. We are now exploring new AI-centred initiatives, such as the new PhD in Intelligent Systems and Data Science, a proposed Brock Centre for Artificial Intelligence and a proposed joint Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science (BA/BSc) in Artificial Intelligence.”

To learn more about AI Day at Brock, including the conference’s program schedule and registration, visit the AI Day website.

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