Natural Language Processing in Mandarin and English for AI based service delivery of brain health programs - BC-416

Preferred Disciplines: Computer Science (Masters, PhD or Post-Doc)
Project length: 1 year (3 units)
Approx. start date: As soon as possible
Location: Vancouver, BC
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: Prefer local candidates – British Columbia
Company: Synaptitude Brain Health

About Company:

Synaptitude Brain Health Inc. is a brain health company based in Vancouver, BC. Co-founded by UBC scientists, Synaptitude aims to bring revolutionary advances in brain research to the general public for the benefit of human brain health. We combine sophisticated research and technical analyses to provide our clients with the most comprehensive brain health assessments and brain fitness programs. Join us in this venture of science and knowledge.

Summary of Project:

Synaptitude Brain Health offers a brain health program to reduce the risk of dementia as adults age. The brain health program centers around first measuring our clients brain health and then encouraging lifestyle and behavioural changes in the areas of :

  • Sleep
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Cognitive Fitness and Training

The neuroscience literature supports the fact that improving in these areas does significantly reduce the risk of dementia in older adults. Synaptitude’s current business model serves in-person consults an improvement in these areas through interaction with guided subject matter experts. This model does not scale well and is time consuming to the client.

We are currently developing a conversational agent that pairs with a wearable device like a Fitbit to deliver daily reminders and coaching to sleep and wake up at the same time. The client is able to set goals, and the conversational agent motivates the client to reach those goals. The client is able to monitor their progress through a web-dashboard.

The service delivery centers around changing behaviours and it comes with its own challenges. The goal of this project is to design conversational experiences in Mandarin and English to effect those behavioural changes.

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • Design conversational experiences in Mandarin and English
  • Experiment with policies for machine learning based conversational dialogue management (different recurrent neural network architectures)
  • Do natural language understanding (NLU) (entity recognition, intent recognition etc.) in both Mandarin and English and understand the nuances of both.
  • Experiment with various different kinds of embeddings for natural language processing e.g. BERT, ULMFit, ELMO, word2vec, GloVE for Mandarin and English.


    To be determined upon discussion with collaborators

    Expertise and Skills Needed:

    • Past experience or strong interest in natural language processing and machine learning. A strong publication record is desired.
    • Solid experience of programming in Python with the ability to write unit tests.
    • Experience with Software Engineering tools like Git and Continuous Integration pipelines.
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Bilingual English and Mandarin candidates preferred

    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