November 02, 2020

Meet Cohort One: Sam, Keith, and AI at ATB

After receiving more than 550 applications, we are pleased to welcome the first cohort of ground-breakers and algorithm-makers—the first eight interns in the Applied AI Lab. This week we are showcasing Samantha and Keith who are working with ATB Financial and taking a deeper look into ATB, AltaML, and Artificial Intelligence.

Meet our Interns

Samantha Sam-Inimgba

I am a data analyst and now through AltaML’s Applied AI initiative, a budding machine learning developer. I have a BSc in Biomedicine and an MSc in Computer Science from the University of East Anglia.

I was introduced to ML while working on my final year thesis of my Master’s program and it exposed me to the impactfulness of ML solutions, this motivated me to self-learn machine learning by working on personal passion projects and actively seeking out ML opportunities. A tech conference I attended at the University of Calgary was my first introduction to AltaML and their commitment to bridging the AI talent gap between academic and applied skills in Alberta. This put AltaML on my radar and as soon as the initiative was announced I applied.

I am excited to be a part of this initiative because this is the opportunity I had been looking for to help me cross over to the industry side. AltaML’s Applied AI initiative has provided a lot of support, resources and most importantly challenging use cases, which is accomplished by pairing me with an Industry Partner, in this case ATB. I am thrilled to be working with ATB, a very progressive data driven financial institution that has shown great commitment to developing real-world banking solutions. Together we will be working on challenging use cases to develop impactful AI and ML solutions. Their approach has offered me a tonne of learning experiences and presented me with a lot of challenges that have helped me expand and hone my skills as an ML professional.

Keith Jennings 

I completed my BA in Economics in 2016. During the program, I found the most interesting courses to be in econometrics. I also found my passion for data from work experience, which included working as a summer student for TC Energy and as a finance research assistant at the University of Calgary. Additionally, I participated with the Calgary Portfolio Management Trust as a fund analyst.

I then went to law school before deciding to follow my passion and continue working with data. I attended the data science program at the University of Calgary, completing it in June of 2020. There, I learned new skills in the analysis of data, various machine learning techniques, and tools for managing big data. I built out my skill set in machine learning by assisting a financial services firm in their ideas to apply data science techniques in the enhancement of client experience.

My interest in AltaML was sparked from a presentation they gave to data science students at the university. When I saw the Applied AI Lab internship, it was an incredible opportunity to work with engaged and engaging industry partners. To apply classroom learning to solve real world problems during an internship is immensely valuable to me. My interest in finance pairs well with the partner company ATB, and I am looking forward to being a part of fintech in Canada.

The A-Team: ATB, AltaML and Artificial Intelligence 

ATB has a deep understanding of Albertans, their families, their challenges and their goals. Because we are Alberta-based—and Albertans ourselves—we are laser-focused on transforming banking for the better to support our customers and their businesses. We strive to put them at the centre of everything we do and we know that technology is key to delivering on our commitment. That’s why we're excited about the opportunity to invest in our customers, and the future of artificial intelligence (AI) in Alberta, with our partners at AltaML. 

Whether it's a safer car ride home or an easier way to unlock your phone, Albertans know that AI has been incorporated into almost every part of their daily lives. Our mission is to use AI to create tremendous value for our customers while ensuring we build ethical, safe, secure and reliable solutions. Here’s a snapshot of what we’re doing:

Using AI to solve real world problems

ATB uses machine learning to understand the impact of recent shocks on the province so we can  help our customers navigate through these turbulent times. The information we gather feeds our work and is shared in our daily digital economic update, The Owl, which provides subscribers with real-time economic insights and analysis in an easy to digest format. 

Using AI to save time and create value

At ATB we use a blend of machine learning and robotic process automation to more quickly connect our customers to the funds they need. With computer vision and natural language processing, we can read information in documents and take the appropriate action, which can help save valuable time when it comes to processing loan applications.

Empowering the next generation of AI developers

At its heart, AI is a horizontal—meaning it has the potential to create change across many industries. This change is made possible by empowering the builders; providing open data and new tools to the community of engineers and the data scientists already working in various industries within Alberta (including Sam and Keith at AltaML!). Open ATB's open innovation marketplace provides these builders with ready access to a vast catalogue of open data sets, a rich resource to help enable inquiry and power insights.

Ensuring our AI is trustworthy

Above all, ATB is committed to ensuring our AI is safe and ethical. As Sue McGill, ATB’s Head of Innovation stated, “The future is taking shape in the moves we make now. As we look to connect the emerging needs and behaviours of our customers to future marketplace and tech strategies, we must do so in a manner that yields the highest degree of trust and transparency.” With such a high degree of scrutiny continually applied against our systems, ATB customers can feel confident their data is secure and they are being served in an equitable manner. 

About the Applied AI Lab

The Applied AI Lab was created to accelerate applied AI development through a machine learning and data science internship. The AI Lab is a collaborative industry-led initiative, partnering with ATB, Suncor Energy, Spartan Control, and TransAlta. It helps bridge the talent gap between academic and applied skills by providing interns with guidance and access to real business problems, data, and industry partners. Over the 3-year program term approximately 240 individuals will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in applying AI.

For more information contact:

Danielle Gifford, Manager of the Applied AI Lab

[email protected] 

About ATB Financial

With $55.8 billion in assets, ATB Financial is an Alberta-built financial institution that is a catalyst for economic growth in our province. We got started in 1938 to help Albertans through tough economic times and are still the only financial institution in more than 100 Alberta communities. ATB’s more than 5,000 team members love to deliver exceptional experiences to more than 777,000 customers in our 175 branches, 139 agencies, 24-hour Client Care Centre, four entrepreneur centres, or through our digital banking options. Everything we do is focused on how we can serve Albertans—from providing expert advice and supporting entrepreneurs to helping Albertans buy a home and grow their wealth.

For more information contact:

ATB Financial, Media Relations

[email protected] 

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