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73 EpisodesProduced by James LeWebsite

Datacast follows the narrative journey of data practitioners and researchers to unpack the career lessons they learned along the way. James Le hosts the show.


Episode 63: Real-World Transfer Learning with Azin Asgarian

Show Notes
  • (02:06) Azin described her childhood growing up in Iran and going to a girls-only high school in Tehran designed specifically for extraordinary talents.
  • (05:08) Azin went over her undergraduate experience studying Computer Science at the University of Tehran.
  • (10:41) Azin shared her academic experience getting a Computer Science MS degree at the University of Toronto, supervised by Babak Taati and David Fleet.
  • (14:07) Azin talked about her teaching assistant experience for a variety of CS courses at Toronto.
  • (15:54) Azin briefly discussed her 2017 report titled “Barriers to Adoption of Information Technology in Healthcare,” which takes a system thinking perspective to identify barriers to the application of IT in healthcare and outline the solutions.
  • (19:35) Azin unpacked her MS thesis called “Subspace Selection to Suppress Confounding Source Domain Information in AAM Transfer Learning,” which explores transfer learning in the context of facial analysis.
  • (28:48) Azin discussed her work as a research assistant at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, working on a research project that addressed algorithmic biases in facial detection technology for older adults with dementia.
  • (33:02) Azin has been an Applied Research Scientist at Georgian since 2018, a venture capital firm in Canada that focuses on investing in companies operating in the IT sectors.
  • (38:20) Azin shared the details of her initial Georgian project to develop a robust and accurate injury prediction model using a hybrid instance-based transfer learning method.
  • (42:12) Azin unpacked her Medium blog post discussing transfer learning in-depth (problems, approaches, and applications).
  • (48:18) Azin explained how transfer learning could address the widespread “cold-start” problem in the industry.
  • (49:50) Azin shared the challenges of working on a fintech platform with a team of engineers at Georgian on various areas such as supervised learning, explainability, and representation learning.
  • (51:46) Azin went over her project with Tractable AI, a UK-based company that develops AI applications for accident and disaster recovery.
  • (55:26) Azin shared her excitement for ML applications using data-efficient methods to enhance life quality.
  • (57:46) Closing segment.
Azin’s Contact InfoMentioned Content


Blog Posts


  • Yoshua Bengio (Professor of Computer Science and Operations Research at University of Montreal)
  • Geoffrey Hinton (Professor of Computer Science at University of Toronto)
  • Louis-Philippe Morency (Associate Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University)


Note: Azin and her collaborator are going to give a talk at ODSC Europe 2021 in June about a Georgian’s project with a portfolio company, Tractable. They have written a short blog post about it too which you can find HERE.

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