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Borealis AI taps top artificial intelligence professor to lead research and expand Edmonton team

RBC and Borealis AI

TORONTO, October 26, 2017 - Borealis AI, an RBC Institute for Research in artificial intelligence (AI), today announced that Professor Matthew E. Taylor has joined the Borealis AI team as a senior researcher. Prof. Taylor will relocate from Washington State University (WSU) to Edmonton, Alberta to lead research for the Borealis AI Institute and expand its team of experts in this world-class AI hub.

“I am thrilled to welcome Prof. Matt Taylor to Canada and to the Borealis AI family,” said Dr. Foteini Agrafioti, head, Borealis AI and chief science officer, RBC. “His joining our Institute in Edmonton is a testament of our commitment to the advancement of the machine learning field with theoretical and applied research in areas such as reinforcement learning.”

Prof. Taylor held the Allred Distinguished Professorship in Artificial Intelligence at WSU where he also served as director of the Intelligent Robot Learning (IRL) lab. His areas of expertise are reinforcement learning, interactive machine learning and design of autonomous agents. Prof. Taylor leaves his faculty role at WSU, attracted by Borealis AI’s mission to pursue curiosity-driven research, and develop theoretical and applied AI solutions for the advancement of our communities.

“Having freedom to pursue curiosity-driven research using rich, massive data sets in the industry is pretty rare,” said Prof. Matt Taylor, senior researcher, Borealis AI. “I am excited to see how our research can positively impact people’s lives, and how we can make things better by bringing AI techniques out of science and into the real world.”

Prof. Taylor will be expanding the Borealis AI team in Edmonton with experts that specialize in machine learning research and development. Edmonton has emerged as a hub for reinforcement learning thanks to the work of faculty from the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) at the University of Alberta. Reinforcement learning is a subfield of machine learning that has recently become one of the most quickly advancing areas in AI. Prof. Taylor adds to the critical mass of experts currently relocating to the area.

'It's with great excitement that we welcome Prof. Taylor to Edmonton as research lead for Borealis AI,' said Cameron Schuler, executive director, Amii. 'RBC has shown strong support for research and innovation in Alberta through the establishment of their AI research lab in affiliation with Amii. The addition of Prof. Taylor to the team reaffirms their commitment to providing meaningful opportunities for University of Alberta students and graduates, and to growing the Canadian AI ecosystem.'

About Borealis AI
Borealis AI, an RBC Institute for Research, is a curiosity-driven research centre dedicated to achieving state-of-the-art in machine learning. Established in 2016, with labs in Toronto and Edmonton, we support open academic collaborations and team up with world-class research centres in artificial intelligence. With a focus on ethical AI that will help communities thrive, our machine learning scientists perform fundamental and applied research in areas such as reinforcement learning, natural language processing, deep learning and unsupervised learning to solve ground-breaking problems in diverse fields. For more information please see: www.borealisai.com.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have approximately 81,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 35 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.‎

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. For more information please see: www.rbc.com/community-sustainability/.

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Media contact:
Jillian Vernic, Communications, RBC, 416-348-6736