Today, the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) and the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO) are announcing the appointments of three FRQ–IVADO research chairs in diversity and equity in data science. A total of $1.5 million in funding will support innovative research and the training of a qualified workforce of researchers in data science.
An pillar of innovative research, the research chair program was created to support the training of a qualified workforce of data scientists within three renowned institutions in Québec: Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal. In addition to making a significant contribution to cutting-edge data science research, the FRQ–IVADO chairs aim to foster diversity and equity in data science research through the composition of the chairs’ teams, leadership of the chairholders and directions of the research projects.
Each chairholder is awarded funding in the amount of $100 000/year for five years—the duration of his or her mandate. Of the total amount, half will be dedicated to recruiting and supporting students and postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented groups.
FRQ–IVADO data science research chairs
Foutse Khomh is an associate professor in the Department of Computer and Software Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. Professor Khomh has focused his research on software maintenance and evolution, cloud engineering, service-oriented software engineering, experimental software engineering and analytics.
“Machine learning is being increasingly implemented in large-scale and critical systems thanks to the recent developments in machine and reinforcement learning. A significant paradigm shift is required to ensure the quality of the applications that integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence. Compared to traditional software, the test workspace of machine learning software systems is indeed much more extensive. The FRQ–IVADO Chair in Software Quality Assurance for Machine Learning Software will contribute to the emergence of new theories, methods and tools to facilitate the development, testing and implementation of high-quality software applications that incorporate machine learning,” declared Foutse Khomh.
Margarida Carvalho is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at Université de Montréal. Professor Carvalho specializes in game theory.
“I am actively working to create an inclusive ecosystem and promote a diversity of identities, backgrounds, ideas and perspectives among the new generation of scientists who are leading research at the interface of data science and operations research. The FRQ–IVADO Chair in Data Science for Combinatorial Game Theory assists us in pursuing this objective,” affirmed Margarida Carvalho.
Aurélie Labbe is an associate professor in the Department of Decision Sciences at HEC Montréal. Professor Labbe specializes in data science with applications in health, transport and business and marketing.
“The FRQ–IVADO Chair in Data Science seeks to integrate expertise in mathematical, statistical and computer science and the knowledge and know-how of the specialists who generate these data under one research program. This multidisciplinarity is at the core of the chair’s objectives and makes it possible to generate quality methodological tools that are adapted to specific issues and ensure the quality of the interpretation of the results,” confirmed Aurélie Labbe.
The FRQ–IVADO research chairs have assembled a committee that will fulfill an advisory role with regard to their scientific objectives and provide key support to chairholders in the steps and activities related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
“This program serves to strengthen the FRQ’s EDI measures, and I am convinced that the diversity these research chairs will bring will have a very positive impact on the quality and benefits of AI research in Québec,” stated Rémi Quirion, the Chief Scientist of Quebec.
“The FRQ–IVADO chairholders are exceptional researchers, and their appointments recognize the excellence of their work. They will be called upon to play a key role in strengthening Montréal’s status as a hub for artificial intelligence and big data and provide leadership to make new generations of experts more diverse and address EDI issues in research,” asserted Gilles Savard, CEO of IVADO.
From left to right: associate professor in the Department of Computer and Software Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal; Margarida Carvalho, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at Université de Montréal; Aurélie Labbe, associate professor in the Department of Decision Sciences at HEC Montréal.