2017-06-23

RBC Research Institute Opens Its Doors for a ‘Mad’ Launch Party

June 21 marked two important firsts: The first day of summer and the official launch of RBC Research Institute’s Toronto lab. One of these events happens every year; the other once in a lifetime.

The Research team stood proudly on hand to welcome over 100 guests into our newly renovated space. Academics, business visionaries, and thought leaders mingled with the next generation of AI grad students while they sipped “Mad Scientist” cocktails, nibbled on appetizers, and soaked in the atmosphere. Despite the presence of a brand new office basketball net, the room was too packed for any real sweat to break; however, the lab’s CSO and Research Head, Dr. Foteini Agrafioti, says everyone is invited to come back for a game of one-on-one against Research Team Lead and secret Olympic-grade athlete, Yanshuai Cao.

RBC CEO Dave McKay kicks off the festivities

In his introductory remarks, RBC CEO Dave McKay emphasized the bank’s dedication to the Canadian AI ecosystem. The evening represents RBC’s investment in fundamental research, a commitment that will allow Canada to push the state-of-the-art and take our rightful place on the world stage as a leader in AI. The labs in Toronto and Edmonton are the bricks and mortar behind the science, the physical foundation to support our astonishing momentum and continual collaboration between academia and industry.

Dr. Agrafioti followed Mr. McKay on stage to express her gratitude for a clear-thinking RBC leadership that understands the urgency in advancing AI research and keeping our IP homegrown. To illustrate that dream in action, she introduced our 2017 RBC Research Prize winners, Varun Perumal, Gerald Penn and Cosmin Munteanu, and Glenn Gulak, whose work represents the best of academic research with a dedicated shift toward entrepreneurship. Please click here for more on this year’s winners.

RBC Research Institute CSO Foteini Agrafioti and RBC CEO Dave McKay present the 2017 RBC Research Prize winners with their plaques. From left to right: Foteini Agrafioti, Cosmin Munteanu, Varun Perumal, Glenn Gulak, and Dave McKay

As Canada’s first industrial research centre dedicated to AI, RBC Research Institute represents a crucial step in Canada’s intellectual and economic future. If there’s any reason to break out the liquid nitrogen ice cream sandwiches, it would be that.

For the full photo gallery of our Launch Party, click here.