Industry Mentorship Empowers Participants in Developing AI for Social Good
Demo Day is fast approaching; Perceptrons are firing, GPUs are humming, and even through the separation of our screens, the anticipation in the Lab is palpable.
With less than one week left in the program, our cohort is entering the final sprint in preparation for their presentations on July 28th. And they have not ventured forth alone. Their projects in part reflect the precedence set by the lecturers, the contextualization offered by the speakers, and the details filled in by the TAs. Unique to the Prototyping Weeks, however, is the mentorship they’ve received from industry leaders.
The AI4Good Lab has paired each project with mentors from our partner organizations to offer the tailored expertise that each team needs to attain their goals. Over the last three weeks, the mentors have helped guide their teams in developing Machine Learning prototypes that address solutions for social good, by providing real-world insight, creative problem solving, and career advice.
One such group is seeking to improve community support for mental health by developing an app that performs sentiment analysis on journal entries. One of the project’s goals is to use topic modelling, an unsupervised machine learning technique that clusters unstructured text into abstract ‘topics’, to identify potential factors for individual distress.
Working with them is mentor Priya Sidhaye, a research engineer at Automat who specializes in chatbots and Natural Language Processing (NLP). As an industry expert, she has been instrumental in providing direction to the group by supporting their foray into NLP, facilitating access to resources on topic modelling, and demonstrating how to effectively apply the ML techniques they’ve learned in a way that best serves the goals of their project.
We are certain that the cohort will carry these insights forward as they continue their pursuit of creating and using technology to serve social good. We would like to extend a warm thank you to all of our participating mentors for lending their expertise, and look forward to another memorable Demo Day!
Zhitao Gong Research Developer
Anita Gergely Research Developer
Tom Schaul Deep RL Researcher
Marjan Albooyeh Machine Learning Research Engineer
Wenjie Zi Machine Learning Research Engineer
Francis Duplessis Applied Researcher
Rajeev Yadav Director R&D
Prashanth Venkataswamy Software Engineer
Priya Sidhaye Research Engineer
Maude Lizaire PhD Candidate & AI4Good Alumni
Mobile Robotics Lab at McGill
Johanna Hansen Mcgill PhD Researcher & NASA Research Internship
Meltem Demirkus Project Leader and R&D Engineer