On June 28, 2018, the Fields Centre for Quantitative Analysis and Modelling (Fields-CQAM) launched 11 flagship laboratories, including a Modelling and Prediction of Anomalous Events lab at Carleton University.
The lab will be led by Carleton’s Shirley Mills, professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and James Green, professor in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering.
“Many of the most interesting machine learning and classification problems involve detecting rare events; this is true across application areas, from disease diagnosis to fraud detection,” said Green. “Our lab will train tomorrow’s experts in how to tackle such challenges, focusing on industry-relevant problems.”
Prediction of anomalous or rare events, such as the automated identification of fraudulent financial transactions, the prediction of specific molecules within the human genome, or the correct diagnosis of rare cancers is both important and challenging. This new lab focuses on the development of models and machine learning systems for making predictions.
The new lab offers training to address the challenges of applying statistical machine learning for the prediction of rare events. The low occurrence of rare events must be addressed during the training and testing of such systems, otherwise systems either dramatically under- or over-predict the events.
Fields-CQAM was created to respond to the provinces’ need for high-quality personnel, trained in advanced quantitative methodologies and able to draw on knowledge from a broad range of disciplines, from mathematics to social sciences. This network of research and training laboratories are at the heart of the centre, home to cutting-edge research and an expansive graduate training program.
Led by top researchers in a variety of areas, Fields-CQAM laboratories will work with industrial partners to solve commercial problems using applied mathematics.
“We look forward to working with industry partners, by offering seminars, webinars, workshops and boot camps, as well as providing internship and postdoc training opportunities,” said Mills. “We are always open to new collaborations and we welcome hearing from businesses interested in participating in our lab.”
“Fields-CQAM will provide opportunities for an increasing number of graduate students to work on applied problems brought to us or discovered with industry partners,” said Ian Hambleton, director of the Fields Institute. “This will equip them with the skills-training and hands-on experience critically needed to help them, and ultimately Ontario’s companies, thrive in our competitive world economy.”
There is an estimated cost of $24.3 billion Canadian per year to the Ontario economy in foregone GDP from the skills gap, and Fields-CQAM labs aim to narrow this figure. Each lab’s integrated applied research and training program is focused on areas of interest to its partners, ensuring their graduates meet the skills needs of firms in areas of strategic importance to the province. Empowering students with advanced skills through participation in research, experiential learning internships and graduate courses and workshops facilitates their entry into positions in the public, private and educational sectors.
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