Bio

Currently, I am pursuing a Ph.D. supervised by Dr. Graham Taylor, at the Vector Institute and UoG.  I collaborate with RLAI lab at the University of Alberta  and have the privilege to work with  Professor Rich Sutton. Currently I am at the RLAI lab at the University of Alberta.

I've founded two startups: UDIO AgTech, and Cultura.  The companies graduated from Creative Destruction Lab, Next Founders, and NextAI.

At 22 I moved to Canada, started from scratch, received B.Sc. with honors, Computer Science from Ryerson University, and an M.B.A. from University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management.  I've been working all the way through all my degrees, starting as RA/TA at the university, then at IBM (2009). The last five years of my corporate life I spent at Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (2010-2015). 

Before all of that... I grew up in the middle of Siberia, Russia, in a tiny village, which I left at 16 to pursue an Engineering degree in Saint-Petersburg at ITMO University (completed 4yrs out of required 5.5). While working on my degree I was running a crepe restaurant in Saint-Petersburg (60 seats). 

Research Interests

Model-based reinforcement learning, machine learning, reinforcement learning,  dialogue systems, reproducibility in AI research, research methods, natural language processing, psychology, human-computer interaction, intelligent assistants.

Recent Talks & Workshops

  • Tea-TimeTalk, RLAI Lab, University of Alberta, Topic: Model-based ReinforcementLearning for an interactive Dialogue Task
  • Invited Speaker, TorontoMachine Learning Series Micro-Summit, July, 2019, Topic: Model-basedReinforcement Learning
  • Co-organized Curiosity for DecisionMaking Workshop at the Multi-disciplinary Conference on ReinforcementLearning and Decision Making, 2019
  • Invited Speaker, NeurIPS, 2018, Topic: From Lab to Startup -How to Commercialize your AI Research
  • Research Talk at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence,2018, Topic: Advances in automatic document summarization
  • Co-organized Data Management Practices Workshop, University ofGuelph, 2018
  • Invited lecture at CIFAR, AIFuture Policy Lab, 2018, Topic: Foundations of AI
  • Guest lecture at the University of Guelph, Fall, 2018, Topic: ModelingComplex Systems
  • Invited Speaker, Rotman School of Management, Spring, 2018, Topic:Introduction to AI, a lecture for 300 students
  • Invited Speaker, MachineLearning and Market for Intelligence Conference, 2016

Media Coverage

Food and Agriculture

I am one of the first 5 scholars of Arrell Food Institute. My other work extends to the Food Safety Culture research, which is a collaborative project between Arrell Food Institute and my startup, Cultura. 

Our prior work includes the the report on Ag Research Data Governance Principles.

Currently I am leading the LINK Project: Aninterdisciplinary program that seeks to apply machine learning techniques to researchin agriculture and food.

The startup UDIO AgTech was another attempt to integrate my world of technology with my roots (I grew up on a farm): we built an app and a web platform that first, predicted the yields for selected fields, and then optimized the use of large industrial pumps that supply water into these fields. We focused on tree crops such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and operated in California for 2.5 years.

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