In their pursuit of machine learning and deep learning research at U of T Engineering, 11 incoming master’s students have received Vector Institute Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence (VSAI).

This is the third round of scholarships announced by the Vector Institute, which was launched in 2017 to attract, develop and retain top artificial intelligence (AI) talent in Canada. Five U of T Engineering students were awarded in the second round, and nine in the first round. In addition to receiving a scholarship worth $17,500, recipients gain access to networking opportunities and professional development workshops at the Institute throughout the year.

This year’s VSAI scholarship winners are:

  • Hengrui Jia (ECE)
  • Shichen Lu (UTIAS)
  • Philippe Nadeau (UTIAS)
  • Raj Patel (MIE)
  • Jingxing Qian (UTIAS)
  • Daniel Severo (ECE)
  • Sophie (Sijie) Tian (MIE)
  • Rachel Wong (MIE)
  • Yuchen Wu (UTIAS)
  • Meng (Katie) Xu (MIE)
  • Zhaocong Yuan (UTIAS)

Vector scholar Daniel Severo will focus on understanding the potential and limitations of AI in order to apply more real-world AI models, safely, in critical domains.

“Deep learning has proven its effectiveness in multiple applications, but we still don’t exactly know why it performs so well,” he explains. “The lack of theoretical guarantees hinders its deployment and potential impact in areas like health care, where there are deep concerns around data privacy.”

Severo, an international student from Brazil, will work under the supervision of Professor Ashish Khisti (ECE) this Fall. He says choosing to pursue his AI research at U of T Engineering was easy — as an undergraduate, he received an exchange scholarship that enabled him to study at ECE for one year.

“The experience has made me feel at home at the department ever since. I’m looking forward to collaborating and learning from some of the top researchers in my field,” he says.

U of T Engineering now has 25 VSAI scholarship recipients conducting research, adding to a rapidly growing list of AI-related activity at the Faculty.

In December, professors Angela Schoellig (UTIAS) and Gennady Pekhimenko (Computer Science, ECE) were named Canada CIFAR AI Chairs, appointments that will bolster their respective research into autonomous robotics and memory hierarchy designs. And last Spring, the Faculty launched the Centre for Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Engineering (CARTE), which will drive research collaboration between faculty, graduate students and industry partners.

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