AI and machine learning at the service of the transformation of HR and its decision-making processes in business - QC-188

Preferred Disciplines: Machine Learning, AI, NLP, General knowledge of Human resources field (Masters, PhD or Post-Doc)
Project length: 3 years (48 units total; 3 units per Masters student and 6 units per PhD/Post-Doc)
Approx. start date: March 2019
Location: Montreal, QC
No. of Positions: 11
Preferences: None
Company: Anonymous

About Company:

The partner uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize human resource management decision-making, recruitment strategies and performance management reviews. It is a Human Resources software company powered by conversational artificial intelligence (AI). The Montreal start-up helps organizations access the infinite scope of possibilities that artificial intelligence and automation offers. We are dedicated to supporting technological innovation and organizational performance of human resources. Smaller businesses all face Human Resources issues and are poorly equipped to deal with them. Our strengths are what make us unique and the reason we firmly believe in our vision - releases human potential through artificial intelligence.

Summary of Project:

We introduce PAM, its virtual assistant expert in human resources that supports companies in their daily decision-making. She converses with her users both orally and in writing. It covers issues of productivity, labor relations, health and safety, legal issues / risks, and employee performance management. The analysis of the dialogues that it generates makes it possible to be attentive to the users, to understand their intentions, their needs and to do the necessary to answer them - by modification of the business rules at first, then by machine learning at a later stage.

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

Advances in AI and machine learning have proven to be useful and decisive in many areas of research and have been successfully applied in various sectors: health, finance, marketing, etc. However, much less attention has been paid to their applications in human resource management. The proposed research project invites a methodical and informed thinking on the subject of which AI, machine learning and rule-based techniques from the field of natural language processing can be integrated into HR decision-making. Ultimately, the research will give birth to PAM, the partner’s first prototype of a human resources virtual assistant driven by AI. PAM is a conversational human-like avatar that interacts directly with HR managers or advisors using natural language and analyzes their requests to provide explanations and recommendations in simple and accessible language.
PAM will provide relevant documentation (eg Termination Letter, HR Policy) according to the case and presented HR issues. The technological challenge lies, first, in the identification of recurring issues and problems and the responses that will be generated. PAM's decisionnal matrix are implemented and nurtured by the various legislative codes that are often complex and leave much room for interpretation. PAM is able to provide simplified answers to her interlocutor. This characteristic abounds towards the partner's primary mission, which ultimately aims to  emocratize HR knowledge for SMEs. Since human resources is rather often a “grey area”, laws and labor codes interpretation and application are often supported by judicial precedents. PAM must be able to understand these laws and interpret their implications according to context. When the partner’s conversational agent is unable to provide an adequate or fully satisfactory response to the user, the latter will refer the request to the customer service department, which consists of human resources professionals. Subsequently, the partner's team will take care of developing and enriching PAM's database allowing her to answer this question in the future if it ever reoccurs. The success of a human  resource tool will depend on many factors: accuracy and integrity of its algorithms or the ease of use of its systems. More importantly, it will also rely on its ability to provide what is called a "narrow AI" - where very specific solutions will be recommended to treat and remedy various HR issues commonly encountered in the work environment. PAM has an ability to understand natural language and is able to learn from her interactions in an assisted and ongoing manner. The virtual assistance provides a fluid user-experience and responds effectively and reactively to the questions and HR issues presented to him. The conversational agent allows managers and HR teams to have a dedicated human resources department 24 hours a day. PAM takes into account local legislation (whether under provincial or federal jurisdiction, such as the Canada Labor Code, the Labor Code, the Labor Standards Act, Employment Standards, CSST, WSIB and collective agreements) as well as policies and procedures of the company. A human resources department is an essential part of the well-being of employees in any business, regardless of size. Human Resources responsibilities include hiring, firing and updating federal and national labor and tax laws.
SMEs occupy a large majority of the labor market around the world: all of them face the same problem. These companies hire part-time, often unqualified HR specialists and manage human resources informally and intuitively, which often has significant financial and legal consequences. Since the partner offers a range of affordable decision support products, many companies will be seduced by this innovative and economical solution. Finally, the disruptive and innovative aspect of the partner differs from the external consulting services and  conventional chatbots currently on the market.


    • To be discussed with the researchers

    Expertise and Skills Needed:

    • Machine learning, with focus on computer vision, natural language processing/generation etc.
    • Knowledge/Previous Studies in cloud computing will be a plus
    • Development and testing under the following environments: Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android (Android studio), iOS (X code)
    • Knowledge of software development (algorithmic, data structuring, software architecture, etc.);
    • Agile development: incremental approach, sprints, iterations, testdriven development;
    • Knowledge of programming languages and current frameworks in the web world (Python,PHP, Ruby, JavaScript, Angular.js, Bootstrap, etc.);
    • Test and validate the codes developed (unit and functional tests, implementation of code analysis tools, etc.);
    • Have good knowledge of Unix operating systems (Linux);
    • Standard network protocols (TCP / IP, routing mechanisms) and the most common application protocols (HTTP, SMTP, DNS, etc.);
    • Web interoperability protocol: REST, JSON, OOAuth;

    For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

    1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
    2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Gabriel Garcia-Curiel