Students from Toronto win KPMG's global AI innovation challenge

22 May 2019 2 min. read

Team Paramount AI from the University of Toronto won the KPMG Ideation Challenge 2019, which invited university teams from nine countries to crack complex business issues with artificial intelligence.

The second annual iteration of the Ideation Challenge welcomed over 600 applicants, with nine teams ultimately invited to a final round of judging at KPMG’s offices in Amsterdam, held between May 10-12. Participating teams were composed of STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) university students with at least one year left in their studies, representing the countries of Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Netherlands, UK and US.

Accounting and consulting firm KPMG uses the competition as a platform to uncover new innovative solutions, as well as way to attract promising new talent to the firm. The competition also exposes students to the sort of work they would do working on the tech development side of management consulting. During the competition, participants work with KPMG professionals to co-develop innovative, AI-powered ideas into prototypes.

Students from U of T win KPMG's global AI innovation challenge

“Through the Challenge these students experience the type of work member firms do for clients every day and it helps us identify future leaders with the necessary skills to design, develop and deliver industry-leading solutions for clients and for society,” said Anthony Coops, head of KPMG Global Lighthouse Center of Excellence for data-driven technologies in Australia.

The team from U of T came away as the winners of the competition, which was scored by KPMG judges on the five criteria of innovation, presentation, feasibility, client impact, and customer impact.

Team Paramount AI’s winning idea was a solution that tackled the issue of rising landfills through the automation of waste segregation at the source. The team will retain intellectual property rights to the solution, and will also attend the KPMG Annual AI Summit in October in Toronto, where they will present to hundreds of consulting professionals, data scientists, and clients.

“As a recognized global leader in AI services in several categories by analyst research firms and ranked a top employer on Universum's 2018 World's Most Attractive Employer Rankings for STEM students, KPMG rightfully aims to be a beacon for the best and brightest thinkers in AI and data-driven technologies,” said Thomas Erwin, global head of KPMG Lighthouse.

“KPMG cultivates a culture of creativity and collaboration, where ideas have the opportunity to flourish,” he added. “We look forward to the opportunity to welcome top students, such as those from Paramount AI and the other teams which competed, to KPMG member firms to help clients transform their businesses with innovative ideas using these emerging technologies.”

Related: French tech consultancy Axionable opens AI research lab in Montreal.