RBC announces collaboration on innovation

The bank and its partner are cooperating on two new initiatives in machine learning and artificial intelligence

In collaboration with the University of Toronto, RBC has announced two new initiatives to keep Canada a centre of development in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The first, called RBC Research in Machine Learning, will be a cutting-edge research practice that strives to push the boundaries of the science around machine learning. “RBC Research in Machine Learning is part of our commitment to the advancement of machine learning and artificial intelligence in Canada,” said RBC Vice President of Innovation Gabriel Woo. “We are not only building our own capabilities, we’re also big believers in creating jobs in this space to retain the amazing talent we have in Canada.”

The practice will be housed at the University of Toronto’s Banting Institute, to be headed by inventor and entrepreneur Dr. Foteini Agrafioti,a co-inventor of Nymi, the first wearable device to use the HeartID biometric technology to authenticate users.
“This has really never been done before in Canada,” he said. “We’ve lost so much talent in this country to other companies and institutions, but RBC has both the scale and commitment to ensure Canada remains a centre of excellence in machine learning.”

With Agrafioti at the helm, the RBC Research in Machine Learning team will work with academics from the University of Toronto and other institutions, publishing new research in machine learning and artificial intelligence. They will also be connected to RBC teams working on AI and machine learning to provide expertise and help solve business challenges.

The second is a new partnership with the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, an incubator program for massively scalable, science-based companies. Its objectives-based mentoring process, led by highly accomplished entrepreneurs and angel investors, aims to maximize ventures’ equity value creation. Under the agreement, RBC is contributing to the Creative Destruction Lab’s programming fund and will assume a role on the Lab’s Advisory board.

“We’re thrilled to partner with RBC on this initiative,” said Rachel Harris, director of The Creative Destruction Lab. “With their support we are able to scale our program. We are now home to 50 AI companies. To our knowledge, this is the greatest concentration of AI companies in any program on Earth.”

“RBC is part of a thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers and market visionaries,” said Woo. “We share a strong commitment to the study and advancement of artificial intelligence with the University of Toronto, one of the world’s leading institutions in this space.”

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