Following up on recent investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning, RBC has announced that modern-day AI pioneer Dr. Richard S. Sutton has been brought on as head academic advisor to RBC Research in machine learning. The bank’s research arm has plans to set up a new lab and partner with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) at the University of Alberta.
“We are thrilled to be opening a lab in Edmonton and to collaborate with world-class scientists like Dr. Sutton and the other researchers at Amii,” said RBC Research head Dr. Foteini Agrafioti. “BC Research has built strong capabilities in deep-learning, and with this expansion, we are well poised to play a major role in advancing research in AI and impact the future of banking.”
Sutton has earned significant recognition for his work in reinforcement learning, a specific aspect of machine learning focused on making predictions in the absence of historical data or explicit examples. Reinforcement learning techniques have been found to be effective in determining which behaviors would be most ideal in complex environments.
“The collaboration between RBC Research and Amii will help support the development of an AI ecosystem in Canada that will push the boundaries of academic knowledge,” Sutton said. “We've only scratched the surface of what reinforcement learning can do in finance and are excited to unleash even greater possibilities with this collaboration between RBC Research and Amii.”
"We believe AI has the potential to bring about major improvements in areas such as client service, fraud prevention and risk management; advancements that will have far-reaching benefits in financial services and beyond,” said RBC Vice President of Innovation Gabriel Woo. “Partnering with a leading institution like the University of Alberta is an important step forward as we continue to explore this emerging technology.”
RBC is also collaborating with the University of Alberta to provide students and researchers with opportunities like internships, academic collaboration, and exchanges with the Toronto-based research team. The key contact between RBC research and professors, researchers, and students interested in driving banking innovation through machine learning will be RBC’s academic partnerships lead Dr. Eirene Seiradaki, who has almost 20 years of experience in academics.
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