ATB Financial partners University of Alberta on AI

ATB Financial partners University of Alberta on AI

Canadian lender ATB Financial is teaming up with professors and students at the University of Alberta to explore artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The bank is pumping nearly a million dollars into the four-year partnership, offering a cohort of STEM students and researchers the chance to move beyond classroom theory to create real world banking tools.

Projects and initial research include intuitive business analytics to support entrepreneurial growth, proactive fraud detection, and customer service intelligence powered by reinforcement learning.

ATB is stressing that it will also focus on the ethical implications of AI, pushing discussions on areas such as privacy, security and trustworthiness.

Canada has a reputation as an AI leader, with UAlberta considered a hotbed in the field of reinforcement learning research. Last year another bank, RBC, hired the university's Richard Sutton as an advisor to a new machine learning lab.

"Every business and individual stands to benefit from the application of AI," said Wellington Holbrook, chief transformation officer, ATB. "The opportunity to collaborate with the UAlberta as a key pillar in ATB’s broader AI strategy is significant. We’re able to reinforce the fabric of Alberta’s tech ecosystem with a focus on developing and benefitting the key resource at the heart of it all: people."

In addition to the UAlberta partnership, ATB has set up a Research & Affiliate Network, led by AI expert Randy Goebel as well as an AI, People & Advisory Ethics open platform, led by Geoffrey Rockwell.

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