Edmonton is host to RLDM2015, the multi-disciplinary conference on reinforcement learning and decision making, June 7 - 10 at the University of Alberta.  

Over the last few decades, reinforcement learning and decision making have been the focus of an incredible wealth of research spanning a wide variety of fields including psychology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, operations research, control theory, animal and human neuroscience, economics and ethology. Key to many developments in the field has been interdisciplinary sharing of ideas and findings, yet there has been no single conference that brings all these communities together. The idea of RLDM is to become that conference. - RLDM.org

Patrick M. Pilarski, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, shares a few thoughts on reinforcement learning & how it impacts our daily lives: 

Decision making is at the root of most social, industry, and scientific pursuits. As such, RLDM 2015 has broad appeal to anyone interested in understanding or controlling a process that involves decisions. 

Specifically, reinforcement learning and decision making (RLDM) is inherently an “online” or ongoing pursuit; this makes it well suited to those interested in how humans makes choices - psychology, neuroscience, economics, marketing, and the understanding of the rational or irrational processes that underpin how people make purchases and economic decisions). RLDM also explores the health or functioning of the brain, and can also provide insight into automation, industrial optimization, and the incremental improvement of a process based on known goals.

Similarly, RLDM impacts those interested in thinking machines - how machines make choices, thought, learning, robots, and artificial intelligence. 

From the perspective of enabling business, RLDM is used by technology companies to optimize advertising revenue, make choices about serving content, or personalize themselves to users. One of the speakers I am particularly keen to talk with again is Andrea Thomaz, who looks at the field of socially intelligent machines.

This conference is a opportunity for representatives from top academic centres in North America and beyond to connect with their international community, and with local excellence here in Edmonton. RLDM ideas are perfect tools to help make Alberta businesses more competitive on the global stage.