From data to decision: new AI training

New skills are needed to harness AI technology to extract relevant information from this data and make better decisions.

New skills are needed to harness AI technology to extract relevant information from this data and make better decisions.

Credit: Getty

In 5 seconds

Canada’s Future Skills Centre invests close to $1 million in an artificial-intelligence training project at IVADO and Université de Montréal.

Producing data is all very well, but knowing how to interpret and use them is even better — and thanks to artificial intelligence, that’s now possible.

With that in mind, Canada's federal Future Skills Centre has invested close to $1 million in a new, bilingual AI training project of the Institut de valorisation des données (IVADO) and Université de Montréal’s Centre de pédagogie universitaire (CPU) and Faculty of Continuing Education (FEP).

"The use of massive data makes it possible to improve the efficiency of organizations' processes and create new business opportunities,” said Brian Moore, IVADO’s director of scientific Programs. “This data offers enormous potential for innovation, the benefits of which extend to all segments of industry and all facets of our society, provided we have the right approaches and artificial intelligence tools to exploit them."

AI algorithms and programs have been making a difference. In the fight against COVID-19, for example, data analysis is helping to better identify needs and better define public health policies, accelerate drug discovery and optimize the allocation of medical resources in hospital emergency departments.

Similar use of data analysis through AI also promises to be a boon for other products and services, organizers of the new training program believe.

"We live in an era where it is possible to be a pioneer and make good business decisions by using all the information we have and considering the potential of massive data to better plan our strategies," said Moore. But there is still a big need to extract concrete information from the jumble of massive data, he added. "New skills are needed to harness AI technology to extract relevant information from this data and make better decisions.”

With the implementation of AI in organizations, the demand for a skilled workforce will increase — and unfortunately, for there there are few ways to acquire the necessary skills. IVADO's AI training project is designed to meet this need, which is expected to become more and more pressing as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

Applying statistical analysis of big data

Aimed at "subject-matter experts" in companies and organizations, IVADO's innovative project will offer, in collaboration with its academic partners, an online program of seven courses of about 20 hours each, on two platforms.

Two of those courses are being offered at UdeM this summer.

"The training will be delivered nationally, in English and French, on EDUlib and edX to provide these actors of change with training on how to integrate AI into their organizations," said Bernard Bérubé, deputy director of the CPU.

Who are the experts involved?

"They are specialists in a number of sectors who understand their company's business needs and who also have technical knowledge, people such as financial analysts and engineers,” Bérubé said. “They can bridge the gap between technical teams and management and between the needs of organizations and the technological opportunities offered by AI.”

The training project has four components:

  1. Self-assessment will enable professionals to define their AI skills, identify gaps in their knowledge and determine the needs their organization may have among the courses on offer.
  2. The training pathway will include up to seven online courses: four basic courses applied to the stages of AI adoption throughout the organization and three specialized courses to meet more specific needs.
  3. The professional certification offered by IVADO and Université de Montréal will mark official recognition of the success of participants who wish to undergo an evaluation of their learning.
  4. Finally, a mechanism for analyzing data on lessons learned and a global evaluation approach will be put in place to ensure validation of the relevance and effectiveness of the entire system.

UdeM at the forefront in mass data

IVADO’s AI training is one of 30 newly funded projects across the country — and one of only three in Quebec — announced today by the Future Skills Centre.

"We are delighted with this funding, which will help Quebec and Canadian companies acquire the skills they need to strengthen their competitiveness in the years to come, while offering, for those who wish to have their learning evaluated, a recognized, high-quality professional certification," said Vincent Beauséjour, UdeM’s vice-dean of FEP program development.

Université de Montréal is one of the world's most fertile environments for research in artificial intelligence, including the fields of operations research and data science. Through them, the university is at the forefront of global development of big data.

"Training in AI integration will enable companies to be equipped to extract value from their data," Moore concluded. “It will also enable the application of statistical analysis of big data, and thereby better promote business prosperity and innovation.”

For more information on IVADO’s AI training.

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