Media Releases

Leaders in Education and Artificial Intelligence Honoured by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management

October 25, 2016

Toronto, ON – Three Canadian scientists who lead crucial work in developing artificial intelligence are among the winners of the second annual awards presented by the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

The awards are designed around the primary ingredients in the prevailing models of economics growth: labour, capital and ideas.

The winner of the Labour Award is SHAD, based in Waterloo, Ontario. SHAD has contributed to developing Canada’s competitiveness by coaching exceptional high school students to reach their full potential as leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs. There are currently more than 15,000 SHAD alumni, including 30 Rhodes Scholars. As seen by the critical impact past participants have made in Canada and the growing roster of impressive graduates, the spillovers that accrue to Canada are immense.

The winner of the Capital Award is the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.  The Consulate General played a critical role in connecting pools of capital from Silicon Valley to knowledge-based companies in Canada. It addresses a market failure in the form of suboptimal matching by reducing information asymmetries through raising awareness of Canadian investment opportunities for value-added investors in Silicon Valley. For example, Intel Capital credits the work of the Consulate General in San Francisco and Silicon Valley for initiating their relationship with Canadian companies, which led to their subsequent investment of over half a billion dollars in Canadian technology companies over the past three years with a trend suggesting increased future activity.

This year the Ideas Award is shared by three pioneers in deep thinking and artificial intelligence; Professors Yoshua Bengio of the Université
de Montréal, Geoffrey Hinton of the University of Toronto, and Richard
Sutton of the University of Alberta. These individuals played a critical role in pioneering the fields of deep learning and reinforcement learning at a time when these lines of scientific inquiry were considered marginal areas of research among the mainstream computer science community. Their perseverance and groundbreaking research, and that of the many students they mentored, led to breakthroughs that are so foundational that they are now enhancing almost every aspect of human endeavour ranging from transportation to energy to healthcare to education and more. The full economic benefits and impact on society of their work has yet to be realized.

The awards will be presented by The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, at a conference at the Rotman School on October 27 hosted by the Creative Destruction Lab on the economics of Artificial Intelligence called “Machine Learning and the Market for Intelligence.”  The focus of the conference is on the business opportunities and economic implications arising from recent advances in machine intelligence. The presenting sponsor of the conference is Scotiabank.  Further details on the conference are online at

Founded by Prof. Ajay Agrawal, the Creative Destruction Lab leverages the Rotman School’s leading faculty and industry network as well as its location in the heart of Canada’s business capital to accelerate massively scalable, technology-based ventures that have the potential to transform our social, industrial, and economic landscape. Each year the Lab accepts ventures in two streams– one for technology ventures and a second exclusively for machine learning and artificial intelligence ventures. The program admitted fifty AI companies this year. To our knowledge, this represents the greatest concentration of AI companies in any program in the world.  The Lab has helped many nascent startups, including Deep Genomics, Greenlid, Atomwise, Bridgit, Minuum, Nymi, NVBots, OTI Lumionics, PUSH, Thalmic Labs,, Neverfrost, Chargespot, and VoteCompass, among others. . Since its inception, companies who have graduated from the program have gone on to create more than $800 million (CDN) in equity value. For more information on the Lab, visit

The Rotman School of Management is located in the heart of Canada’s commercial and cultural capital and is part of the University of Toronto, one of the world’s top 20 research universities. The Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables our graduates to tackle today’s global business and societal challenges. For more information, visit


For more information:

Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
Tel: 416.946.3818

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