DC receives funding supporting Artificial Intelligence advisory services for businesses

Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce that its Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (the AI Hub) will receive advisory services and a contribution of up to $300,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). The AI Hub is the applied research centre in AI for the college’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE).

This conditional funding, which started in late 2019 and has since been extended, has allowed the AI Hub to develop technology-based solutions for seven small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across the country and a variety of industries.

“This contribution is a credit to the success of our AI Hub team in creating real business solutions for SMEs by leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and more,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, dean, ORSIE. “We are grateful for NRC IRAP’s support which, in turn, allows our team to continue doing this valuable work.”

The NRC IRAP l funding enables DC faculty and student researchers to act as consultants to SMEs, applying their skills and training to solve industry challenges related to innovation and technology adoption. Thus far, the funding has supported the following successful projects:

  • Mapping, development and deployment of a fully functional rule-based Database and Administration Portal along with a testing webpage for Calgary-based Cognitive Solutions Inc.
  • Development of a suite of Machine Learning applications and scripts, which includes inference functions for on-the-fly textual testing and analysis, for AI agency Atomic X.
  • Phase 1 of the AI Wetland mapping tool development for Solstice Environmental Management, an Alberta-based environmental consulting firm.
  • Development of an AI tool built into the software of a New Brunswick-based digital services provider, Riddl Tech Inc., that can help client companies manage their social and environmental-impact data.
  • Development of proprietary conversational chatbot for Health Espresso/iCare Home Health Services Inc. that answers frequently asked questions about regional healthcare resources in Ontario based on a user’s postal code.
  • Creation of an event-based AI engine that envelops multi-faceted AI models to predict the fluctuations of the currency in light of changing global currencies and event indexes for online financial tech services company 4Pay Inc.  

Through their partnerships with the AI Hub, each SME gained access to researcher and student expertise and valuable programs and resources to help facilitate the adoption of AI into their business systems.

“Although the benefits are well known, the ability to develop an effective AI solution that can generate value at scale remains elusive for many companies,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice president, Academic. “We are thrilled that this funding from NRC will allow us to further support businesses as they implement AI capabilities into their business systems, all while giving our students more opportunities for experiential learning.”