Number of the Month




This is how many minutes an average North-American who is self-isolating spends on Facebook per day (source: The Economist).

Let's Get Real About AI

While further progress in the development of artificial intelligence is inevitable, it will not necessarily be linear. Nonetheless, those hyping these technologies have seized on a number of compelling myths, starting with the notion that AI can solve any problem.

Stan Matwin, Feb 10, 2021

An article published in Project Syndicate

COVID19 and AI

We're very excited to announce our COVID-19 project on Covid Global confinement Emotion aNalysis (COVGEN).  In COVGEN, we use AI to explore and understand the emotions of millions of people under social confinement around the world, as expressed in their tweets. Working in partnership with Twitter, we have access to all tweets sent globally between March 2020 and March 2021. Their hashtags and vocabulary are used to identify tweets talking about confinement. 

The project is led by Rita Orji (Persuasive Computing Lab) and Stan Matwin (Institute for Big Data Analytics), both from the  Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada,  working with  research assistants Hamed Jelobar and Oladapo Oyebode. The team also includes Dr. Swarna Weerasinghe, from  Dalhousie’s Department of Community Health and Epidemiology.

This project demonstrates the effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence, and in particular Natural Language Processing (for mapping words into emotions) and Machine Learning  (for data analytics and prediction) in detecting and analyzing emotions from tweets talking about COVID-19 social confinement. We also examine how emotions of people under social confinement change as their isolation progresses in time, taking into consideration geo-temporal variations of public policy decisions. 

This research may impact public health policy decisions by monitoring trends in feelings of those who are quarantined in a given country or city, as well as predicting the likely emotional effects in extending confinement periods. For more information contact or

Elderly woman in disposable mask stares out of window

CFI Innovation Fund award ensures the continuation of MERIDIAN

MERIDIAN Logo As demand for resources continues to grow, nations turn their attention to the oceans, not least Canada with its world's longest coastline. Along with the changing climate, the increased human presence impacts the marine ecosystems, especially in the Arctic. Therefore, to ensure sustainable use of marine resources, we must keep a vigilant eye on our ocean's health. Since 2017, MERIDIAN, funded under the CFI Cyberinfrastructure program, with provincial support from Nova Scotia, Québec and British Columbia, and headquartered at Dalhousie’s Institute for Big Data Analytics, has established itself as a unique endeavour in Canada and internationally, advancing the use of Big Data, AI, Machine Learning in Ocean Science, to the benefit of our oceans.

In the years to come, the MERIDIAN team, supported by a new $3.1M CFI Innovation Fund award, the Nova Scotia Research fund, and Dalhousie University, will continue collaborating with academic researchers, government scientists and NGO groups on solving pressing ocean issues such as protecting the endangered North Atlantic right whale. In the context of the “Artificial Intelligence Meets Oceans” project, the MERIDIAN team will be building Marine Artificial Intelligence Platform (MAIPL), a novel virtual laboratory that will make MERIDIAN's AI toolkits accessible to a wide range of Canadian and international ocean researchers. To learn more about the MERIDIAN project, go to