​Graham Taylor

Associate Professor, University of Guelph; Academic Director, NextAI; Member of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Graham Taylor is an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph where he leads the Machine Learning Research Group. He is the academic director of NextAI, non-profit initiative to establish Canada as the AI hub for research, venture creation and technology commercialization and a member of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto in 2009, where he was advised by Geoffrey Hinton and Sam Roweis. He spent two years as a postdoc at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University working with Chris Bregler, Rob Fergus, and Yann LeCun.

His research focuses on statistical machine learning, with an emphasis on deep learning and sequential data. Much of his work has focused on “seeing people” in images and video, for example, activity and gesture recognition, pose estimation, emotion recognition, and biometrics. Work with PhD student Natalia Neverova and co-advisor Christian Wolf focused on recognizing “communicative” gestures from multiple modalities: depth and intensity video, motion capture, and audio. This work placed 1st out of 17 teams in the 2014 ChaLearn “Looking at People Challenge”. It was subsequently awarded recognition in the CVPR OpenCV State of the Art Vision Challenge. In follow-up work, the team developed a body motion analysis algorithm for a large-scale, continuous authentication system for mobile phones in collaboration with Google.

Dr. Taylor’s research group has been active in hardware acceleration for deep learning, managing over 300 TFLOPS of GPU-enabled high performance computing infrastructure. The team is investigating novel ways to distribute learning algorithms over multiple nodes of GPUs and developing free, open-source tools for the wider research community.

Dr. Taylor was recently selected by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research as one of two Azrieli Global Scholars appointed to the Learning in Machines and Brains Program: an international competition recognizing excellence in research and leadership. He has received over $2M in external research funding, including a highly competitive NSERC-French National Research Agency Strategic Partnerships Grant, and trained 50 Highly Qualified Personnel since his appointment. Papers he has authored or co-authored have been cited over 3000 times.