Dr. Joëlle Pineau

Joëlle Pineau
Head, Facebook AI Research (FAIR) & Co-Director of the Reasoning and Learning Lab, School of Computer Science, McGill University
  • Keynote speaker, Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing (2017)
  • Named to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada (2016)
  • President, International Machine Learning Society
  • Senior Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Joëlle’s favourite book is Us Conductors by Canadian writer Sean Michaels. The novel is a fictionalized account of the relationship between Léon Theremin (inventor of the theremin) and Clara Rockmore (the theremin's first virtuoso player).

The mentor of machines

It made a lot of sense when Facebook chose Montréal to be the home of its newest artificial intelligence research lab (FAIR), and even more when they tapped Dr. Joëlle Pineau to run it. In recent years, Montréal has become one of the world’s hottest AI hubs and is internationally recognized for its high concentration of independent AI researchers. Joëlle is among the best-known and most decorated of that group. As an associate professor at McGill’s School of Computer Science and co-director of its Research and Learning Lab, she has spent countless hours developing new models and algorithms for planning and learning. Her focus is on trying to teach AI systems to solve problems in areas and industries like healthcare, transportation and robotics. An expert in “reinforcement learning,” Joëlle isn’t trying to teach machines to do simple conversational tasks like the ones performed by your home or smartphone assistant. Rather, she’s giving machines the ability to make good decisions in real-world situations, specifically in situations with incomplete or incorrect sets of information to process. In short, she’s trying to teach machines to learn much like people do, and with a decidedly hopeful bent.
“In the Industrial Revolution, the goal was really to extend human physical abilities... In the AI Revolution, what is happening is the innovation of machines augmenting humans’ cognitive abilities”
Joëlle to Canada 2020
  • Keynote speaker, Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing (2017)
  • Named to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada (2016)
  • President, International Machine Learning Society
  • Senior Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Joëlle’s favourite book is Us Conductors by Canadian writer Sean Michaels. The novel is a fictionalized account of the relationship between Léon Theremin (inventor of the theremin) and Clara Rockmore (the theremin's first virtuoso player).