AltaML announces new collaboration to help students gain experience with AI projects

· The Pulse
By Mack Male
in the Tech Roundup

AltaML has announced a new collaboration with Microsoft Canada and the University of Waterloo to provide training and mentorship to students participating in the artificial intelligence stream of the Waterloo Experience (WE) Accelerate program.

The 10-week program offers students the opportunity to tackle real-life projects supplied by partners. AltaML will lead a six-week module under the Microsoft Azure artificial intelligence stream for 80 students.

"Often, students don't get exposed to real-world AI projects and data sets until, in many cases, their first job," Celia Wanderley, chief customer officer at AltaML, told BetaKit. "AI isn't the future anymore; it is part of our everyday lives and AI literacy will be increasingly needed in jobs across all sectors."

With partners like Rogers and Health Canada, students will work on one of four projects, such as hockey analytics using computer vision or exploring digital public forums to measure sentiment using natural language processing.

AltaML at Student DevCon 2020

Members of the AltaML team at Startup Edmonton's DevCon 2020 event for students. (AltaML/Instagram)

"Collaboration is at the heart of what we do at AltaML, and we are thrilled to partner with the University of Waterloo, renowned for its experiential learning and its STEM programs, to mentor student teams as they tackle real-world AI use cases," said AltaML co-founder Nicole Janssen. Last year, the company was recognized as the winner of the "Most Significant Cross-Community Collaboration of the Year" award in the 2020 Start Alberta Tech Awards.

Over the past few years, AltaML has launched a series of initiatives aimed at developing AI talent. The company hosts post-secondary students through Mitacs internships, is working with the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund to create applied data science internships over the next three years through the AltaML Applied AI Lab, donated cash prizes for the inaugural Idea Fund for undergraduate students at the University of Alberta, and, back in 2018, committed $1.35 million over five years to the Faculty of Science at the U of A.

This story has been changed to reflect that AltaML's investment in the U of A's Faculty of Science in 2018 is no longer going towards a professorship in natural language processing, as was initially announced.