Russell Greiner

Professor Russ Greiner is a Canada CIFAR AI Chair, and Professor of Computing Science (Adjunct in Psychiatry) at the University of Alberta. In a career spanning over 40 years, in both academia and industry, he has excelled in research – with many important contributions across many areas of Artificial Intelligence – as well as mentoring and service.

In the 1980’s, he contributed many results to the “Expert System” movement, and also some early papers related to automatic image understanding. In the 1990’s, he was among the first to explore foundational issues in machine learning, helping to establish many of the underpinnings of this important field as it was emerging. Starting in the 2000’s, much of his activity began to focus on practical applications of machine learning: in biology, chemistry and especially medical applications. He helped develop the Human Metabolome Database, which describes the 250,000+ small molecules in our bodies and how they relate to our health. It is now used daily by many thousands of researchers and developers worldwide. He has published results in many medical areas, with 50 papers related to screening, diagnosing and prognosing various types of cancer, 40 in medical imaging, 35 in psychiatry, as well as another 30+ in other medical areas, including many timely results relating to forecasting the spread of Covid-19. In addition to specific applications, his research also continues to address many foundational issues critical to producing effective medical models: exploring counterfactual reasoning, survival prediction, and ways to combine datasets from different hospitals. This research has been recognized internationally – with over 26,000 citations and an impressive H-index of 65. He has over 500 co-authors on these papers – mostly medical clinicians and researchers. His network of collaborators is continuously increasing, partially due to his many presentations to medical groups, the general public, and students describing the application of machine learning to medical tasks. This has led to many cold-calls, leading to many fruitful collaborations: Dr. Greiner has participated in over 40 successful medicine-related grants in the last decade, totaling over $25M. A recent grant review called him “one of top 10 researchers in the world in machine learning for healthcare”.

Professor Greiner is a very popular, and effective, supervisor – mentoring over 140 undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students/fellows in his career, including 11 whose theses were nominated for prizes, locally and nationally. Essentially all of his students have gone on to successful careers – many in top companies and 16 who are now professors (6with research chairs). In 2020, he received the Great Supervisor Award.

Dr. Greiner was a Program Chair for ICML (one of the top conferences in ML) in 2004 and its General Conference Chair in 2006. He has served as a Senior Editorial Board member for essentially all of the top journals in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and also on the boards of several companies and organizations. He has delivered many hundreds of invited presentations and tutorials, and has organized many workshops. In 2002, he and 3 colleagues founded the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), which has become one of the world’s top centers for Artificial Intelligence.

Over his career, he received many best paper awards in various conferences and journals, as well as several best reviewer awards. He also received many prestigious local, national and international awards, including a McCalla Professorship (2005), a Killam Professorship (2007), a AAAI Fellow (2007), a Canada CIFAR AI Chair (2021), the CAIAC Lifetime Achievement Award (2021) and the Precision Health (Senior) Innovator Award (2022). In 2022, was honored by having a public Research Plaque summarizing his research at the Telus World of Science.

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