Katya Kudashkina, Tech Entrepreneur, M.B.A., Ph.D.
13+ years of business & advanced analytics experience.
Deep expertise in AI, with the knowledge of expected future trends, challenges of real-world applications, and the business value of AI. An intuitive leader in identifying opportunities for building AI-based solutions to deliver on business and financial goals. Excellent at analyzing the potential of data analytics and AI-powered improvements and assessing expected return on investment. Expert at identifying risks associated with technology developments, and the metrics necessary for success. Versatile background includes engaging and leading teams, developing lasting relationships with clients, delivering AI-based solutions, raising capital & negotiating.
Contact: Please email me or message me on LinkedIn. If we haven't met and you don't know my email please schedule a 10-min introduction call with me via this link.
In May 2022 I started a new role of a Director of Engineering, Intelligent Search & Assistant at Ceridian.
In December 2021 I defended my Ph.D. I was co-supervised by Jakob Foerster (University of Oxford) and Richard S. Sutton (University of Alberta RLAI, Amii, DeepMind). My thesis topic was "Model-based Reinforcement Learning for Developing Intelligent Assistants".
Prior to that, I've spent time in both, corporate and startup worlds. I've founded two startups: UDIO AgTech, and Cultura. The companies graduated from Creative Destruction Lab (2015), Next Founders (2016), and NextAI (2017). In the corporate world, I started my career at IBM (2009) working with Cognos solutions. After that I spent five years at CPP Investments (2010-2015) and almost two years at Revera (2021-2022) as a Director, Data Analytics where I was leading the design and execution of company's advanced analytics strategy.
At 22 years old I moved to Canada, started from scratch, received B.Sc. with honors, Computer Science from Ryerson University (also worked as TA & RA), and an M.B.A. from University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management.
Before all of that... I grew up in the middle of Siberia, Russia, in a tiny village, which I left at 16 years old to pursue an Engineering degree in Saint-Petersburg at ITMO University where I completed 4yrs out of required 5.5 before moving to Canada. While working on my degree I was running a crepe restaurant in Saint-Petersburg (60 seats capacity).
Model-based reinforcement learning, machine learning, psychology, human-computer interaction, intelligent assistants, conversational AI.
Invited Talks, Webinars & Workshops
Invited Speaker, Reinforcement Learning and the Future of Conversational AI, January, 2022, Webinar
Invited Speaker, TorontoMachine Learning Series Micro-Summit, July, 2019, Topic: Model-based Reinforcement 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
Co-organized Data Management Practices Workshop, University of Guelph, 2018
Invited lecture at CIFAR, AIFuture Policy Lab, 2018, Topic: Foundations of AI
Guest lecture at the University of Guelph, Fall, 2018, Topic: Modelling Complex 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
Interview with Anthony Lacavera, Globalive Media, 2018
AMII School’s in for summer: Students talk Deep Learning & Reinforcement Learning Summer School 2018
"Among CDL’s ‘graduating’ companies, which best personifies your vision?" Interview with Ajay Agrawal, Commentwise, 2018
Axios article, featuring Elissa Strome, Executive Director of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, Yoshua Bengio, and Katya Kudashkina, DLRL summer school attendee, 2018
NextAI’s first cohort shows how far Canada’s AI scene has come in past 12 months, IT World Canada, 2017
Interview for Rotman Morning MBA Student Profile, 2014
Interview with The Globe and Mail, 2014
Honours and Awards
2020. Tim Price Alumni Community Award. The award reflects my commitment to NEXT's alumni community and the mission to create a more prosperous Canada.
2020. CIFAR Collaborative Research Catalyst Grant
2017. Arrell Scholarship, $200,000.
2015. Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award, University of Toronto. The award recognizes outstanding extra- curricular contributions.
2015. Top 6 in 2015 Hult Prize Challenge. Out of 59 competing international teams for innovative ideas to build a sustainable early childhood education start-up enterprise
2014. Dean’s Honour List, University of Toronto
2008, 2009, 2010. Dean’s Honour List, Ryerson University
2001. Silver Medal. Russia. Students who received 4 out of 5 in only one subject and the highest grade (5 out of 5) in every other subject receive a Silver Medal
Publications and Pre-Prints
Kudashkina, K., Wan, Y., Naik, A., & Sutton, R. S. (2021) Planning with Expectation Models for Control, ArXiv:2104.08543
Kudashkina, K., Pilarski, P. M., & Sutton, R. S. (2020). Document-editing Assistants and Model-based Reinforcement Learning as a Path to Conversational AI. ArXiv: 2008.12095
Kudashkina, K., Wittek, P., Kiros, J., & Taylor, G. W. (2020). Modular Length Control for Sentence Generation. In Proceedings of the 28th European Symposium on Artificial Neural Networks, Computational Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Kudashkina, K., V. Chockalingam, V., Taylor, G. W., and Bowling, M.: Sample-Efficient Model-based Actor-Critic for an Interactive Dialogue Task. ArXiv: 2004.13657
Kudashkina, K., Corradini, M., Thirunathan, P., Yada, R., & Fraser, E. (2022) Artificial Intelligence technology in food safety: A behavioral approach
Trends in Food Science & Technology 924-2244(123), 376-381, doi:10.1016/j.tifs.2022.03.021
Duncan*, E., K. Kudashkina*, K., Nixon*, A., (2018) Agricultural Research Data Governance: Principles and Pathways, Presented as a poster at the Arrell Food Summit and as oral at The 8th International Conference on Sustainability and Responsibility. (*) Equal contribution.
Ilie, S., Kudashkina, K., (2010) A model reduction technique for stochastic biochemical kinetics, Proc. of The International Conference on Bioinformatics & Computational Biology(2), CSREA Press, Las Vegas, pp. 448-453.
Selected Research Talks
Conference Talk, Modular Length Control for Sentence Generation. The 28th European Symposium on Artificial Neural Networks, Computational Intelligence and Machine Learning
Tea-Time Talk, Planning with Expectation Models for Control, RLAI Lab, University of Alberta
Research Talk, NeurIPS recap, MLRG, University of Guelph
Tea-TimeTalk, Model-based ReinforcementLearning for an interactive Dialogue Task, RLAI Lab, University of Alberta
Research Talk at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, 2018, Topic: Advances in automatic document summarization