Building an AI Ecosystem

Keynote Speaker Biography Jordan Jacobs

Managing Partner and co-founder of Radical Ventures, an early-stage VC fund investing in artificial intelligence companies

Jordan Jacobs

Jordan Jacobs is Managing Partner and co-founder of Radical Ventures, an early-stage VC fund investing in Artificial Intelligence companies. Before Radical, Jordan co-founded Layer 6 AI and was co-CEO prior to its acquisition by TD Bank Group where he joined as Chief AI Officer (Business & Strategy).

Jordan is also a founder of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Toronto, a concept he devised with Radical Ventures and Layer 6 co-founder Tomi Poutanen and Professor Geoffrey Hinton. Jordan is a Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), which administers on behalf of the Government of Canada the world’s first national AI strategy, which Jordan helped author. Jordan is also a member of the University of Waterloo President’s International Advisory Board, a Director of Tennis Canada, and has been selected as one of Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People.

Jordan previously co-founded Milq, a cultural content discovery platform and early adopter of machine learning for personalization. He also founded SpyBox Media, through which he developed and partnered with Elton John’s Rocket Pictures to executive produce the Emmy-nominated music TV series Spectacle, hosted by Elvis Costello.

Jordan started his career as a technology and entertainment lawyer, and received his JD from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto where he was admitted at age 19.

Panelist Biography Alan Bernstein

President & CEO of CIFAR

Alan Bernstein

Alan Bernstein is President & CEO of CIFAR, where he has elevated CIFAR to become one of the world’s preeminent global research organizations. He is one of Canada’s leading scientists, with over 225 peer-reviewed publications with landmark contributions to hematopoiesis, retrovirology and cancer. He has also authored or co-authored over 70 opinion pieces in the press in Canada and the US on the importance of science and research to improving health and well-being.

Between 2000-2007, he served as the founding president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) where he led the country through a major transformation in the organization and funding of health research.

He is or has been a member of advisory and review boards in Canada, the U.S., U.K., China, Italy, Portugal, France and Australia, including the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science and Policy Group, the

Scientific Advisory Committee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.

Alan’s contributions to science and science policy have been recognized with numerous awards and honorary degrees, including Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, the McLaughlin Medal from the Royal Society of Canada, the Award of Excellence from the Genetics Society of Canada, the Gairdner Foundation Wightman Award, induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and the 2017 Henry Friesen International Prize in Health Research.

Panelist Biography Leah Cowen

Vice-president, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives, University of Toronto

Leah Cowen

Professor Leah Cowen is the Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics & Infectious Disease, co-Director of the CIFAR Fungal Kingdom: Threats & Opportunities program, and former Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. She is also Vice-President, Research and Innovation, and Strategic Initiatives, University of Toronto, and until December 2021 served as the University of Toronto’s first Associate Vice-President, Research. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia, a PhD from the University of Toronto, and pursued postdoctoral studies at the Whitehead Institute. Her laboratory takes an interdisciplinary approach to understand what allows some microbes to exploit the host and cause disease, and to develop new strategies to treat life-threatening infectious disease.

Professor Cowen has an outstanding track record of excellence in research, scholarship, and education. She has been recognized with a myriad of awards, including a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award, Grand Challenges Canada Star in Global Health Award, Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award, E.W.R. Steacie Award, and Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics & Infectious Disease (Tier I and Tier II). She has been elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is advancing knowledge translation as co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Bright Angel Therapeutics, a company that leverages state-of-the-art technologies for development of novel antifungal therapeutics.

Panelist Biography Garth Gibson

President and CEO of the Vector Institute

Garth Gibson

As a leader in research, advanced education and commercial collaboration, Dr. Garth Gibson bridges the worlds of academia and business. This unique combination ideally positions him to lead the Vector Institute in its mandate to drive Canada’s leadership in artificial intelligence (AI) research, fostering economic growth and improving the lives of Canadians.

Dr. Gibson has held a number of leadership positions at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, including as Professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Co-Director of its Master of Computational Data Science program, and Associate Dean for Master’s Programs in the School of Computer Science, overseeing 20 Master’s programs with over 1,000 enrolled students who are in high-demand upon graduation.

His work has advanced world-leading computer science research and translated it into impactful commercial applications. He is recognized for his contributions to Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) technology for scalable computing, which laid the foundations for some of the world’s fastest supercomputers. Panasas, a data storage company founded by Dr. Gibson, deployed this technology to serve multiple sectors.

As an active and collaborative researcher, he has been instrumental in integrating academia and industry. CMU’s Parallel Data Lab, established by Dr. Gibson over 25 years ago, continues to enable researchers and companies to collaborate and exchange ideas on technology directions. He has also brought partners together to develop high-performance computing systems required to power big data and machine learning research.

Dr. Gibson launched the Petascale Data Storage Institute, which led to collaboration among universities and government research laboratories on challenges related to scaling high performance computing systems. Dr. Gibson publishes and gives talks on bridging high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Raised in Aurora, Ontario, Dr. Gibson graduated with a B. Math from the University of Waterloo in 1983. He did his graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with his MSc in 1987 and his PhD in 1991. He joined Carnegie Mellon University that same year. He is also a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.