The Mila community offers sincere condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and students of Professor François Laviolette who recently passed away in his residence in Quebec.
Professor Laviolette held a Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Mila and was a full professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Laval University. He also served as director of the Big Data Research Center at Laval University and was a member of the Institute Intelligence and Data’s (IID) scientific committee.
“François was recognized in the Quebec scientific community as a pioneer in machine learning research. His leadership and research efforts contributed to establishing the field of AI and health as one of the most important spheres of artificial intelligence development for Quebec. In addition to being an admirable colleague and an incredible leader, François was an accomplice with whom I had the chance to build one of the most solid AI ecosystems in Quebec. He will be greatly missed,” said Yoshua Bengio, Scientific Director and Founder of Mila.
Professor Laviolette was interested in how to make artificial intelligence interpretable to better integrate systems where humans are part of the decision loop. He was a leader in PAC-Bayesian theory, a branch of learning theory that provides insight into machine learning algorithms and the design of new ones. His research interests included learning algorithms for solving new types of learning problems, including those related to genomics, proteomics, drug discovery.
The funeral is postponed. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to Laval University’s François Laviolette scholarship fund would be appreciated. These research grants will be used to extend his vision: to promote responsible, fair and transparent artificial intelligence, particularly in health.