Monday, September 03, 2018

Artificial Intelligence is Canadian as Hockey, Toboggans and Space Data Applications, Eh!

          By Al Calder

NASA's Frontier Development Laboratory (FDL), an artificial intelligence (AI) research and development (R&R) accelerator which tackles "knowledge gaps" of interest to the space program, isn't the only place which leverages public/private partnerships to develop new AI applications.

But is is the one most noticed by the international space community. Even Canadian news outlets, such as the August 24th, 2018 Advocator post, "NASA’s Frontier Development Lab and Intel Create GPS For Space," have noted the latest announcement out of the organization.

As outlined in the post, FDL was intending to develop a space based positioning application similar to the terrestrial global positioning system (GPS) using AI technologies and tools. The announcement was made on August 16th, 2018 at an event hosted by FDL sponsor, the Santa Clara CA based Intel Corporation.

But maybe we should hold on a minute before saluting the successes of the American space program’s AI innovation; Isn’t Canada the undisputed, current leader on AI development?

Even better, doesn't Toronto ON based Skywatch have serious expertise in this area? 

As outlined in the May 19th, 2014 post, "CDN "SkyWatch" wins "Best Use of Data" at Int'l Space Apps Challenge," Skywatch dates back to April 2014, when it was simply a team competing in the 2014 NASA International Space Apps Challenge, an annual competition held in cities around the world in to create apps, robotics and other technologies that harness open-sourced data from NASA and other US government agencies.

If nothing else, Intel has also invested in Canadian AI expertise. As outlined in the June 23rd, 2017 EETimes post, "Intel Banks on Artificial Intelligence," those investments include strong stakes in Toronto ON based Element AI.

The Element AI investment was part a $102Mln US ($137.5Mln CDN) series "A" investment round, the largest "A" round ever raised by an AI company according to the June 14th, 2017 IT World Canada post, "Canadian AI company raises historic amount of funding."

An overview of the Canadian AI ecosystem, current to May 2018. As outlined in the June 14th, 2017 National Post article, "Here's what the AI map in Canada looks like (at least today)," the landscape was expected to change substancially with the close of the successful Element AI series "A" funding round in June 2017. Graphic c/o Element AI.

More recently, and as announced in the July 17th, 2018 Airy3D press release, "AIRY3D raises US$10 million Series A funding led by Intel Capital,"  the Montreal PQ based computer animator announced that it had
... raised US$10 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round led by Intel Capital, including all seed round investors CRCM Ventures, Nautilus Venture Partners, R7 Partners, Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), and WI Harper Group along with several angel investors that are affiliates of TandemLaunch, the incubator that spun out AIRY3D. 
Other AI investments and facilities were discussed in the July 23nd, 2018 post, "Montreal is Becoming the "Silicon Valley" of Artificial Intelligence."

Perhaps, as outlined in the July 5th, 2017 Recode post, "Why Google’s newest AI team is setting up in Canada," things are just friendlier to the north of the 49th parallel.

Or maybe there are other reasons. Whatever they might be, its worth noting the June 30th, 2018 SETI Institute post, "NASA FDL Leverages Public/Private Partnership to Push New Boundaries of Space Science with Artificial Intelligence," ) which included an earlier NASA FDL announcement that it would apply AI capabilities and methodologies to four key space focused challenges in the areas of "space resources, astrobiology, exoplanets, and solar weather".

Surely Canada is more than capable of doing the same. 
Al Calder.

Al Calder is VP of special projects for the Commercial Space Blog, where he creates events focused on space industry needs.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog was awesome and provided very useful information about AI Artificial Intelligence. I recently found one website with name it is also providing AI and ML courses in Montreal.


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