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Prof Shahar Kvatinsky

Technion Canada holds successful Inaugural Program in Winnipeg on AI and the Future

by Rhonda Spivak, May 7,2024

On Tuesday, May 7th ,Technion Canada held a very successful "inaugural" program attended by well over a hundred people, its first program in Winnipeg in over 25 years. It was not lost on this writer that this event, attended by a crowd of all ages, occured on the very same day as the pro-Palestinian encampment began at the University of Manitoba, and is in fact one of the best responses to the encampment by the Zionist community here. The revival of ties to an important institution in Israel could not have come at a more significant juncture. Sharon Zalik, Technion's representative in Winnipeg organized the event, which began with a  short film about Technion, located in Haifa, which was launched in 1940 by a group of visionary entrepreneurs and scientists, among whom was Albert Einstein. 


Technion Canada’s National Executive Director, Elysa Greisman, who resides in Toronto noted that a team comprised mainly of graduates from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which is the equivalent of Israel's MIT, developed the Iron Dome, which has been so essential to Israel's security. Moreover Technion has also been involved in the development of the David's Sling, which was deployed effectively in fending off the large missile and drone attack on Israel sent directly from Iran in April. The Aerospace Engineering Department is a world-class academic hub for aeronautics and astronautics, dedicated to creating, expanding, and disseminating ideas and knowledge in aeropsace, sciences and engineering, which has been vital in providing security for the State of Israel. Greisman noted, "Technion is the only university in the Middle East to have a faculty of aerospace engineering."


Greisman also stated that "80-90% of start ups in Israel have Technion DNA."


The event featured an interesting and informative talk by Professor Shahar Kvatinsky, Professor at the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, at Technion, a 40 year kibbutznik who is a father of four and is currently on sabbatical at University of Toronto, who spoke on the topic of  "AI and The Future." He is an engineer and a researcher, whose expertise is in computer architecture and electronic circuit design.


In his talk, Kvatinsky, spoke about what computers will look like in the future. His research is inspired from the human brain, and he is working on building computers that have structures and computational models similar to "neural networks."


Kvatinsky explained that "software is the set of instructions" and "hardware is the computer itself."


Kvatinsky stated, "The brain has neurons that communicate with each other. We want something similar in our software," and added that "we try to build hardware that is like the brain."


Kvatinsky's research combines new semiconductor technologies, such as memristors, with new architectures that are fundamentally different from conventional computer architecture (i.e., not based on a processor and a memory). These computer structures have significantly better energy efficiency and faster computation and enable new applications such as artificial intelligence.


He stated, "The brain has neurons that communicate with each other. We want something similar in our software," and added that "we try to build hardware that is like the brain."  


Kvatinsky noted that "mathematical models are improving constantly," such that "hardware needs to be re-invented." He indicated that "the software is changing so fast, but the hardware is lagging behind."


He spoke of AI's potential to revolutionize industries, foster innovation and shape a brighter future for all. 


One of the best things about AI, according to Kvatinsky, is that it "improves our decision making...As humans we are bias. For example, physicians may make decisions that are based on their gut feeling but they can be the wrong decisions. Artificial Intelligence, however, is based on statistics." 


He did note that a negative aspect of AI is that it "is addictive." As he stated, "My kids don't know how to navigate without google maps,"

and "My kids are addicted to computer games." He also stated that "we make decisions today with AI, without even knowing it."


Prof. Kvatinsky, who said his office faces the encampment on  U of T noted that there has been increased antisemitism and anti-Israel activity on campuses across Canada, encouraged Jewish students to consider learning at Technion in Israel. 


Kravitsky, is a graduate of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and earned his Ph.D. electrical engineering at the Technion in 2014. He went on to conduct postdoctoral research at Stanford University before joining the Technion faculty in 2015. Prof. Kvatinsky is a member of the Israel Young Academy and the head of the Architectures and Circuits Research Center (ACRC) at the Technion. He is an editor of Microelectronics Journal and has been the recipient of numerous awards including: the 2019 Krill Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research, 2015 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Guillemin-Cauer Best Paper Award, 2015 Best Paper of Computer Architecture Letters, European Research Council starting grant, 2017 Pazy Memorial Award, and seven Technion excellence in teaching awards.


The event was sponsored by the Asper Foundation and the Jewish National Fund, with a dessert reception following. There was a pamphlet attendees were given outlining all of the inventions by Technion, such as electric planes, new generation rocket fuel, agricultural robotics, flying cars, cranial surgery patches, bionic hands for children and more.


Kravitsky noted that 25% of students at the Technion were called up after the Oct 7 attacks. 


For more information about Technion Winnipeg or to make a  donation, contact:  [email protected]



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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