Convergence of Industry, Tech & Student Talent – AI Hub at Durham College

Share this Article

Wisdom and insight are exchanged, and knowledge is created.

Durham College will host a global ethical hacking and cyber security competition in October in its cutting-edge Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Solutions (AI Hub).

The Global Cyberlympics finals, which have never been held in Canada before, will pit 15 teams from all over the world against each other in a
series of challenges, including digital forensics, malware analysis, and network exploitation.

“We are so excited and proud to be hosting this unique competition at
Durham College and seeing the very best talent in cyber security and artificial intelligence descend on the Durham Region for one of the most advanced competitions worldwide,” said Dr. Elaine Popp, vice- president, academic at DC.

“As we continue to encourage advancement in the field of cyber security, I am confident this event will encourage interest and present new opportunities to address the talent gap that exists in this sector.”

The AI Hub was established in 2018 and has since undertaken 16 projects with 35 community partners.

According to the AI Hub website: “Artificial intelligence is a term that
represents a system that can sense its operating environment, reason,
learn, and act in response to input and objectives. An observer of the
behaviour would consider the results intelligent if a human performed the

The AI Hub has worked with small and medium enterprises from startups
to veterans across a range of sectors, says project manager project manager Ali Hirji.

“(The Cyberlympics) are a great opportunity for us to stand out in global
cybersecurity and to showcase our brilliant facilities at Durham College and Durham Region.”

He points to Durham College’s a firstof- its-kind Esports Gaming Arena—a
3,000-square-foot living lab and venue with 46 gaming PCs, extensive broadcast capabilities, and a lounge area that can hold up to 120 spectators for e-sports tournaments.

The College is also home to the Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation and will soon open an augmented reality/virtual reality simulation lab.

Durham Region is a hotbed of innovative thinking; a place where a diverse and inclusive workforce drives innovation and creativity,” said John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer of The Regional Municipality of Durham “Durham College plays a strong role within this innovative ecosystem—offering collaborative research, leading-edge innovation, and market-driven academic programming that is transforming our
communities. We look forward to an engaging series of events, coming to
Durham Region this fall.”

When a company has an idea or a challenge, the AI Hub team scopes the
possibilities, develops a project plan, and puts together a team of four to five students (plus a faculty lead). This team typically works four to six months, but sometimes longer, to execute the research and create a prototype, says Hirji.

The AI Hub includes a GPUaccelerated computing lab employing leading AI deployment platforms from major cloud and on-premise providers.

AI Hub hosts workshops, seminars and one-on-one meetings for organizations beginning to consider AI, along with customized training and
information sessions.

Past seminar topics have included building AI into special-needs education,
cybersecurity, real estate, manufacturing, and the cannabis industry