Durham College launches first-of-its-kind applied research AI Hub

College offers small and medium enterprises much-needed access point to Artificial Intelligence

Oshawa, ON – Durham College (DC) is announcing the launch of the Durham College Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Systems, to be known more commonly as the AI Hub. Housed within the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE), the AI Hub offers small and medium enterprises (SMEs) a much-needed access point to the rapidly growing field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“The promise of AI is bold, but for the 98 per cent of Ontario businesses that identify as SMEs the challenges of AI adoption are significant,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean of ORSIE. “SMEs need help understanding this complex field, accessing resources and data, and figuring out how they intersect with their business. The AI Hub was born out of our team identifying the need to bridge this gap between AI and the organizations who stand to benefit from it.”

DC’s AI Hub offers industry partners access to technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and learning platforms, and students who are emerging leaders in their fields, so that through applied research projects they may uncover business insights and implement intelligent and autonomous solutions to increase their companies’ productivity and growth.

AI is transforming the ways in which business systems, consumer interactions and devices are being developed and used. By building upon Canada’s established lead in AI scientific research, DC’s AI Hub aims to ensure this emerging and vital competitive advantage for business can be understood, developed and adopted by SMEs.

The AI hub is focused on how “narrow AI” can be used to help SMEs unlock competitive advantage through the adoption of AI. Narrow AI refers to any software that uses technologies such as machine learning (ML), decision support, natural language processing and automation to recommend strategic options, make decisions autonomously and act in a manner that would be considered intelligent.

In addition to supporting SMEs, the AI Hub also provides DC students and alumni opportunities to gain highly sought-after AI and ML skills and experience to improve their competitiveness in today’s job market.

“DC was early to recognize the importance of embracing AI both on campus and within the region’s business community,” said DC president Don Lovisa. “In response, our leadership team moved quickly to provide direction and financial support to help establish the AI Hub and its outreach efforts.”

As part of the AI Hub’s establishment, DC also launched three internal projects to accelerate the college’s adoption of AI and commissioned a new GPU Accelerated AI Systems Lab for research and teaching purposes.

The college has also just announced its eighth AI applied research project launched in 2017. DC and Toronto-based flitePLAN International (flitePLAN) are partnering on a project using AI and advanced development techniques to address the financial and ecological benefits of fuel optimization in commercial aviation.

“Fuel is the single largest variable expense for an airline and its efficient use often is the difference between profitability and loss for a carrier,” said Bernard Gonsalves, founder and CEO, flitePLAN. “Using AI and predictive modeling, our proprietary platform will create unique fuel-saving profiles for each commercial flight, providing expert recommendations to the captain on ways that fuel can be saved while still maintaining safety and conforming to regulatory requirements. We are excited to work with DC’s AI Hub to advance our adoption of AI and mobile application development.”

Companies interested in how AI and digital transformation can enhance their businesses are encouraged to visit www.durhamcollege.ca/theAIHub or contact the AI Hub team directly at theaihub@durhamcollege.ca or 905.721.3223.


About Durham College

At Durham College (DC), the student experience comes first. With campuses in Oshawa and Whitby and a learning site in Pickering, the college offers more than 12,000 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students access to more than 140 full-time and eight apprenticeship programs in a number of different disciplines, enabling them to develop the skills required to meet the demands of today’s job market. The college is also set to launch its first four-year degree program, the Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management, in September 2018.

The Oshawa campus features the state-of-the art Student Services building and will soon feature the Centre for Collaborative Education, a legacy project tied to DC’s 50th anniversary in 2017. The new facility will bring together local, Indigenous and global communities, providing a new home for several of the college’s most innovative and ground-breaking programs.

The Whitby campus features the award-winning W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, which includes Bistro ’67, a full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant, and Pantry, a retail store featuring food prepared by students in the college’s culinary programs.

For more information, visit www.durhamcollege.ca or call 905.721.2000.

Media contact:
Melissa McLean
Communications and Marketing
905.721.2000 ext. 2952