U of G VSAI 2021 Winners

Posted on Sunday, May 9th, 2021

Series of scholarship recipients' headshots in a row
The Vector Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are awarded to top-tier students going into Ontario-based AI graduate programs. This year’s U of G recipients (from left) are Cameron Jakub, Jiaju Qi and Rylee Thompson.

Three CEPS master’s students have received Vector Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence.

One mathematics and two engineering students will receive Vector Scholarships in Artificial Intelligence (VSAI), valued at $17,500, as they embark on their master’s degrees in artificial intelligence (AI) at the University of Guelph in Fall 2021.

These prestigious merit-based entrance awards are provided by the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence (Vector), a Toronto-based organization dedicated to advancing artificial intelligence research in Ontario. At U of G, students enrolled in an AI-related master’s program are eligible for the scholarship. This year’s three recipients are enrolled in the Collaborative Specialization in Artificial Intelligence.

Alongside the financial award, recipients will have access to Vector’s Digital Talent Hub, career development and networking events, and AI-specific career support programs..

Cameron Jakub

M.Sc. in Mathematics + AI

Cameron Jakub graduated with a B.Sc. in Mathematical Science and an area of emphasis in Bioinformatics from U of G. He will work with Dr. Mihai Nica to advance his interests in AI and neural networks. Jakub has previously worked on research projects involving Banach space theory and testing regression methods. Throughout his undergraduate studies, he became fascinated by the potential of neural networks in society and plans to use mathematical analysis to study the loss landscapes of neural networks, specifically, how their architecture affects various properties of loss function. Jakub is particularly interested in convolutional neural networks, commonly used for image processing and computer vision.

“The Vector scholarship is an opportunity to get the most I possibly can out of my experience as a master’s student,” says Jakub. “Through the exclusive events hosted by the Vector institute, I’ll be able to network with students and professionals who all share a passion for AI. This will give me the opportunity to discover new research areas, find prospective employers, and make friends. Further, the scholarship alleviates much of the financial pressure of being a grad student, which means I can spend more time focusing on my research and personal life.”

Jiaju Qi

M.A.Sc. in Engineering + AI

Jiaju Qi comes to U of G from the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, where he obtained a Bachelor in Information Engineering and undertook graduate studies in information and communications engineering. In Beijing, Qi has conducted research projects spanning computer vision, natural language processing, and deep reinforcement learning. In 2019, Qi had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Lei Lei, a professor in the School of Engineering on a series of research projects. Qi’s research interests focus on improving energy management and enhancing environmental protection through machine learning and the Internet of Things, working with Dr. Lei on the application of deep enforcement learning in smart microgrids.

“Working with Dr. Lei left a deep impression on me in my research, and I really like the academic atmosphere of U of G,” says Qi. “I would like to thank the VSAI committee for recognizing me. This award reinforces that my AI research is of value to the world, and gives me full confidence in my future work, which will help me achieve more results. I can get to know more researchers through VSAI. I believe that communicating with them can help us have a deeper understanding of AI.”

Rylee Thompson

M.A.Sc. in Engineering + AI

Rylee Thompson is building on his undergraduate research and studies in Engineering Systems & Computing at U of G with Dr. Graham Taylor, a professor in the School of Engineering and academic co-director for CARE-AI. Thompson conducted research in machine learning on graphs as an undergraduate research assistant with Taylor, training a machine to model LEGO structures as a special type of graph, which were then converted to LEGO structures. This inspired Thompson to continue studying in AI with Taylor after graduation. He plans to expand on the applications of this research in his graduate studies.

“While LEGO might sound like a ‘toy’ problem, it is quite complex and a steppingstone for real-world 3D design with artificial intelligence that could have far ranging implications for building design or other real-world structures,” says Thompson. “Being a recipient of the VSAI is a huge networking opportunity. Besides the recognition that comes with receiving the award, becoming a member of the Vector Institute also provides an amazing opportunity that will benefit my career.”

Congratulations to our VSAI winners! Read the Vector Institute announcement for a complete list of this year’s award recipients.

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