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Tech giant Amazon backs professor's AI research

Friday, February 9, 2018

A management sciences professor at Waterloo Engineering has been awarded US $80,000 in cash and services by tech giant Amazon to pursue research on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze customer product reviews.

Olga Vechtomova was the sole Canadian granted funding through the Amazon Research Awards program for faculty members at academic institutions in North America and Europe. There were 49 winners in all selected from proposals submitted in 2017.

Olga Vechtomova

Amazon provides funding annually for research in the fields of computer vision, general AI, knowledge management and data quality, machine learning, machine translation, natural language understanding, personalization, robotics, search and information retrieval, security, privacy and abuse prevention, and speech.

Vechtomova, who is cross-appointed to the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at Waterloo, plans to involve graduate students in her Natural Language Processing (NLP) Lab on work to design deep neural networks capable of learning how people use products they purchase.

Gleaned by the AI software from online product reviews, that information could be used to make recommendations to buyers on products they might find useful.

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