Machine intelligence

Machine Learning in Action: PFM Scheduling

Machine Learning in Action: PFM Scheduling

Shift scheduling sounds like a deceptively simple problem until you have to do it in a large organization like a hospital, with many shifts over several weeks, with many rules dictated by collective agreements.

Maybe not so simple after all. The multi-dimensional aspects of shifts and the millions of variables involved require a computer program at least as smart as a human. And that's where machine learning, a field that involves computers able to learn and improve without being specifically programmed with the data, comes to the table.

Like several firms in the artificial intelligence and machine learning field in Edmonton, PFM Scheduling was born to solve a problem.

AI and Machine Learning: Testfire Labs

The first inkling of Testfire Labs entered Dave Damer's head on Day 6 of a 10-day meditation retreat.

A couple of months before he had exited ThinkTel, the successful telecom company he founded in early 2003. He had some ideas "in his back pocket," a favourite place he stashes inspirations that come up on his path through business.

The retreat was a great experience that brought "great clarity," Damer says.
His inspiration? "We would take some recent developments in speech-to-text and machine learning and natural language processing and we would make a companion for business people so they wouldn’t have to, in my initial iteration this, stress about all the mental to-do lists we have.... They would be better at staying on top of things and prioritizing their daily activities."

With some consultation and working through the idea, the first product was narrowed down to Hendrix.ai, an intelligent companion who helps make meetings more productive.

Testfire Labs is one of a growing number of AI and machine learning companies setting up in Edmonton. AI and machine learning involves computers and machines that do tasks that would normally be considered to require human-level intelligence, dealing with complex data sets and in the case of machine learning, able to learn and improve without specific programming in a data set.

Startup Edmonton Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Startup Community

Startup Edmonton Notes: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Startup Community

At the Mayor's State of the City address last month, we heard a lot about companies in Edmonton that are embracing technology to scale traditional industries and business models. Mayor Iveson cited Jobber, a member and Launch Party alumni company, as one of the local technology companies that is growing at an incredible rate and doing so by applying technology to optimize thousands of small businesses around the world, from landscaping to appliance repair and almost any service industry in between. 

Here at Startup Edmonton, I hear a lot every day about machine intelligence and the opportunities for Edmonton to take a leading role in the way these technologies are integrated into businesses of all sizes and in all industries. We have leading researchers and students at Amii at the University of Alberta, but we also have startup and technology communities that are hungry to learn and implement these research principles into their products & projects.