November 07, 2003
The University of Alberta and the University of Calgary are now home
to two leaders in computing-related research. The creation of the two
iCORE chairs highlights the excellence of Alberta's information and
communications technology research community.
The recently established Alberta Ingenuity Centre for Machine
Learning will benefit from Richard Sutton's appointment as the Chair in
Reinforcement Learning in the U of A's Department of Computing Science.
Sutton's work focuses on teaching computers to learn through
reinforcement, which allows computers to learn during normal operation
— for example, an elevator that can adjust in response to usage
patterns, rather than needing to be reprogrammed. The most common use
of reinforcement learning is found in robotics.
At the U of C, a centre in quantum information science is being
established by Barry Sanders, who will integrate researchers from
computing science, mathematics, and experimental and theoretical
In quantum informational science, research projects underway are
designed to understand pieces of the puzzle that may eventually lead to
the creation of a quantum computer. There is also great interest in
quantum encryption and the limits of "unbreakable" code.
In addition to these appointments, three visiting professor awards
were also announced — Jan Bosch and Kamil Zigangirov at the University
of Alberta and Ian Witten at the University of Lethbridge. Visiting
professors come to the province from anywhere from two months to two
years to stimulate research programs and create international
The awards are valued at almost $5 million and will help build research programs with budgets of close to $15 million.