New and renewed McGill CIFAR AI chairs turn focus on neglected research topics

Published: 13 February 2024

Professor David Ifeoluwa Adelani (School of Computer Science) is McGill’s newest Chair, as Professors Joelle Pineau and Reihaneh Rabbany have their appointments renewed

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and the Québec Artificial Intelligence Institute (Mila) today announced the appointment of a new Canada CIFAR AI Chair as well as the renewal of two other such positions, all of whom are researchers from McGill University. In all, five new Chairs were announced, joining the more than 120 Chairs already appointed at Canada’s three National AI Institutes (Amii in Edmonton, the Vector Institute in Toronto and Mila).

“While it is true that artificial intelligence carries certain risks, it is important to remember that this technology has enormous benefits to society,” said Benoit Boulet, Associate Vice-President, Innovation + Partnerships, McGill University. “I am proud that McGill researchers are leading the way by turning the focus to subject areas that deserve more attention.”

“These new and renewed Canada CIFAR AI Chairs bring extraordinary expertise across a range of strategic domains and applications within the rapidly moving field of AI,” commented Elissa Strome, Executive Director of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy at CIFAR. “As the science and application of AI continues to advance rapidly, the ability to attract and retain great researchers who are advancing diverse aspects of the field will be critical to Canada’s leadership in developing and deploying responsible AI. It’s a testament to Canada’s international reputation that these outstanding academics have chosen Canada to advance their careers and research, while training the next generation.”

The Canada CIFAR AI Chairs program remains a cornerstone of the Pan‐Canadian AI Strategy, recruiting the world’s top AI researchers to Canada while retaining existing talent. The prestigious program provides university‐affiliated faculty with long‐term, dedicated funding to support cutting‐edge research programs and help them train the next generation of AI leaders in Canada. The McGill researchers selected or renewed as Canada CIFAR AI Chairs are:

David Ifeoluwa Adelani is an incoming assistant professor in the School of Computer Science at McGill University. He advances natural language processing to develop machine learning models for under-resourced languages, such as African, Latin-American, and Indigenous languages. His group aims to improve access to information and enhance human-machine communication for these communities, for example in better automatic translation and text-to-speech services.

Joelle Pineau (renewal) has been leading the development of new methods, standards and practices for reproducibility in machine learning, to help ensure sound, reliable and trustworthy systems.

Reihaneh Rabbany (renewal) is focused on the creation of novel AI techniques to support efforts against human-trafficking, as well as methods to detect misinformation with the ultimate goal of improving the health and integrity of online societies.

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