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Concordia Continuing Education forges multi-year partnership with telecom giant Ericsson Global

Projects include a customized training program for the company’s engineers, delivered in collaboration with the university’s Applied AI Institute
June 20, 2024

A group of people seated in a large room, with a man on a screen at the front Tristan Glatard: “The program topics reflect the diversity of data and problem types seen in the workplace.” | Photos by Nathalie Quirion

According to Bloomberg News, the global generative artificial intelligence (AI) market is anticipated to balloon to $1.3 trillion USD by 2032. In today’s rapidly evolving technoscape, industry education must therefore strike a balance between innovation and adaptability.

In light of this opportunity, Concordia Continuing Education (CCE) has developed a training partnership with Ericsson, a global pioneer in telecommunications. The partnership represents a strategic collaboration between CCE and Ericsson, combining the company’s industry leadership with the university’s unique expertise in real-world applications of AI.

A specialized AI training course will be rolled out globally, reaching Ericsson engineers in Canada, Sweden, India and beyond. It is the first of several AI education programs to be delivered by CCE under this multi-year agreement.

Practical skills for engineers

The goal of partnerships such as this one is to foster a unified and highly skilled workforce on an international scale, ensuring participants stay at the forefront of industry innovation. As such, CCE plans to offer similar programs to a wide range of organizations in addition to Ericsson.

“This collaboration with Ericsson Global showcases how our team’s specialized skills in industry-specific training make a significant difference,” says Isabel Dunnigan, Concordia’s associate vice-president of lifelong learning. “It reflects Concordia’s role as a leader in customized, experience-based learning and our ability to meet the evolving needs of the global workforce.”

One exciting outcome of the Ericsson partnership is the continuation of a customized, project-based AI training program for the company’s employees, delivered in tandem with Concordia’s Applied AI Institute.

First launched in November 2021, the curriculum explores emerging topics in AI technologies and machine learning. The program’s initial cohort graduated 120 participants in just 16 weeks.

The second edition promises cutting-edge material, enhancements based on participant input and a more inclusive approach to learning.

“This year, the curriculum has been slightly adjusted to account for feedback from the previous participants, as well as new trends in AI,” says Tristan Glatard, co-director of the Applied AI Institute. “The project component was updated to be more inclusive and better support participants who may not have usable data available in their work environment.”

In addition to his role as co-director, Glatard is an associate professor in Concordia’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering as well as Canada Research Chair (Tier II) on Big Data Infrastructures for Neuroinformatics. He explains that, in addition to a renewed program curriculum and format, this year’s cohort will benefit from returning instructors’ expertise.

“Over half of the program instructors participated in the previous edition, which ensures continuity in the quality of the offering while onboarding new people.”

Real-world skills for real-world problems

With its focus on practical learning, the institute is well-situated to impart Ericsson employees with practical skills and an eye toward integrating emerging technologies.

“The curriculum covers a broad range of AI topics, including data preparation and visualization, supervised and unsupervised learning, classical machine learning, deep learning, time series and generative models,” Glatard says.

“The program is not meant to target a specific type of model or approach. Instead, the topics reflect the diversity of data and problem types seen in the workplace.”

He adds that the program offers participants the chance to hone their skills through trial and error, as they spend more than 40 per cent of the training time working on a project of their choosing.

International innovation via local collaboration

While the program is international, it has a local heart. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with Ericsson’s Montreal-based Global Artificial Intelligence Accelerator (GAIA).

The innovation hub combines research and development in cutting-edge AI and automation.

Prasad Garigipati, Ericsson’s head of AI Hub Canada and the Montreal site, shares that the benefits of this ongoing industry-academic partnership — which will include additional AI training programs for the company — will be widely felt.

“Under the focused guidance of our partners and with the help of Ericsson experts in Montreal — a leading AI hub — our researchers will test and refine solutions to make 5G-and-beyond technologies smarter, more energy-efficient for service providers and more cost-efficient for end users,” he says.

Andrew Grove, global artificial intelligence/machine learning competence driver at Ericsson, agrees. He adds that partnering with Concordia is an opportunity to foreground a shared commitment to promoting continuous learning in service of industry excellence.

“Ericsson Canada is proud to collaborate with a world-class university like Concordia, who is at the forefront of AI research and development,” Grove says. “We look forward to our continued partnership.”

Learn more about
Concordia Continuing Education programs.

Stay informed about future developments and opportunities stemming from the Concordia-Ericsson alliance.


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