Raeid Saqur

Vector Institute - 661 University Avenue | PT 263 - D.L. Pratt Building, 6 King's College Road · raeidsaqur[at]cs[dot]toronto[dot]edu

I am currently a Fulbright Scholar at Princeton University, Department of Computer Science, RBC Fellow and PhD candidate at the Department of Computer Science (DCS), University of Toronto (UofT) and Vector Institute of AI.

My research interests include natural language understanding (NLU), (multi-modal) semantic representation, probabilistic graphical models (PGMs), artificial general intelligence (AGI). My research philosophy is driven by the imminent need for 'non-expert' human users communicating meaningfully with ubiquitous AI agents using natural language interfaces across modalities (text, speech, or gesture). What does it mean to achieve true language understanding for AI agents? Can we do better than trial-and-error (supervised) model training? Most recently, I've been exploring the 'Symbol Grounding Problem' (Harnad) and semantic multi-modal representation using PGMs.

Past: MIT CSAIL; IBM Redbooks (Research Triangle Park, Raleigh), IBM Research, SWG; MBA @ Rotman School of Management, UofT; Research @ Creative Destruction Lab; Founder @MutuoHealth, @Finatechal;

Research & Publications

I have an eclectic mix of research experience in various ML sub-domains like NLP, Computer Vision and Reinforcement-Learning. My over-arching research interest/goal lie in endowing AI agents with the ability to autonomously acquire skills for executing complex multi-modal tasks. Specifically, how can AI agents learn from 'non-expert' human feedback using natural interfaces like speech, text, gestures etc.

Selected publications and current papers (in progress) can be found here:

  • Multimodal Graph Networks (MGN): for Compositional Generalization in VQA abstract, Code
    Published: NeurIPS 2020

  • Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Surgery abstract
    Rudzicz, Frank, and Raeid Saqur. "Ethics of Artificial Intelligence in Surgery." arXiv preprint arXiv:2007.14302 (2020).

  • CLEVR Parser: A Graph Parser Library for Geometric Learning on Language Grounded Image Scenes abstract, Code
    Published: EMNLP (Workshop) 2020

  • CapsGAN: Using Dynamic Routing for Generative Adversarial Networks abstract, pdf
    In proceedings: Computer Vision Conference (CVC) 2019

  • ReGAN: RE[LAX|BAR|INFORCE] based Sequence Generation using GANs abstract, pdf

  • PrivySense: Price Volatility based Sentiments Estimation from Financial News using Machine Learning abstract, pdf

  • H4-Writer: A Text Entry Method Designed For Gaze Controlled Environment with Low KSPC and Spatial Footprint abstract, pdf

Published as Mobile Enterprise Thought Leader, IBM Redbooks, Research Triangle Park, Raleigh, NC:

  • Saqur, R. (2014, February 5). Mobile web app: Five practices for handling device orientation changes. IBM Developer Works, The Mobile Frontier. link

  • Saqur, R. (2014, Jan 20). Four reasons for using Node.js to simulate mobile business services layer. IBM Developer Works, The Mobile Frontier. link

  • Saqur, R. (2013, November 27). IBM Worklight: Using LESS for smarter styling. IBM Developer Works, The Mobile Frontier. link

Industry Relevant R&D Work::

  • Saqur, Raeid (2016). Richr, RichrPro iOS Apps. Apple AppStore. (R&D work at Finatechal Inc.) Apple iTunes

  • Saqur, Raeid (2017) Richr Android App. Google PlayStore. . (R&D work at Finatechal Inc.) Google Playstore

  • Saqur, Raeid (2016). Open-source library: objective-C iOS Homekit scaffolding for IoT devices. (R&D work at Ecobee Inc.) Github

  • Saqur, Raeid (2015). HomeKit and Alexa enabled Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat with voice command interface. (R&D work at Ecobee Inc.) Apple iTunes

  • Saqur, Raeid (2014). Bell OrderMax Guided Process for Order Completion. 65% efficiency increase in 6000 call-centers globally, resulting in $2M decreases bottom line. (R&D work at IBM Canada).

  • Saqur, Raeid (2013). Pioneering work on mobile Cheque Deposit, Cheque-InTM, on iOS and Android platforms and contributing to open-source Tesseract OCR engine. (R&D work at IBM Canada).

  • Saqur, Raeid (2012). TD Waterhouse Wealth management SDK and Mobile Web Brokerage. Awarded ‘Best of IBM’ award in recognition of industry impact and innovation. (R&D work at IBM Canada)

  • Saqur, Raeid (2011). First ever hybrid embedded web carousel for native mobile apps. Aeroplan.

  • Saqur, Raeid (2009). IBM WBP merger algorithm and visualizer. (Engineering Intern at IBM SWG).


TA - CSC420: Introduction to Image Understanding

Dept. of Computer Science, UofT

Please see archive course website here (Fall 2020 site requires UofT internal portal access). My focus topics/areas: Linear filters, edge detection, image semantic segmentation, deep learning

Fall 2020

TA - CSC384: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Dept. of Computer Science, UofT

Please see course website here. My focus topics/areas: Game Tree Search, Bayes Nets/HMMs

Summer 2019

TA - CSC421/2511: Natural Language Computing

Dept. of Computer Science, UofT

NLP using classical techniques with segue to modern elements

Winter 2019

TA - CSC236: Theory of Computation

Dept. of Computer Science, UofT

Intro to theory of computation using algorithm analysis and provability

Fall 2017

Workshop Lead, Lecturer

Quantopian, Boston, MA

First Canadian lecturer leading Quantopian’s vision of inspiring talented people everywhere to write investment algorithms. Lectured workshops with 60+ professionals doing hands-on coding in python of advanced quantitative topics like using text extraction and sentiment analysis using machine learning.

2017 - 2018

Rotman Scholar - RSM1232: Graduate Finance II

Rotman School of Managment, UofT

Graduate lecturer for Prof.JanMahrt-Smith’s class teaching graduate level quantitative finance to MBA & Fin. Engineering students

Winter 2015


To see my other regular blogs, please visit:

Interests & Quirks

I consider myself as a generalized specialist. I think meta-learning or the ability to learn fast is my biggest strength above anything and everything else.

I have played 3 sports semi-professionally: soccer, cricket and chess (if you allow chess to be considered as a sport i.e. ). I am an aficionado of politics, algorithmic trading, macro-economics, and human psychology (besides the usual tech geek stuff like Star Wars and GPUs :) .

Selected Awards

  • • Alexander Graham Bell CGS-Doctoral Award, NSERC, 2020-23
  • • Canada Fulbright Scholarship (@CAGlobalAffairs , US Dept. of State ) 2019-20
  • • RBC / Borelias AI Graduate Fellowship, 2019
  • • Dean’s List and Bregman Scholar; Valedictorian Nominee, 2015
  • • Peter F. Drucker Effective Executive Scholarship, 2015
  • • Rotman Student Leadership Award, 2015
  • • Dean's List with First Class, 2014
  • • Rotman Scholar Award; Ontario Graduate Scholar, 2014
  • • Class of 2003 Trayton Jensen Memorial Award, 2014
  • • 16th Annual Venture Capital Investment Competition – Team Captain: Canadian champion, regional (NYU) finalist
  • Best of IBM Award, 2013. Corporate Soccer League Champion with IBM
  • • National School Chess Championship, 3rd place among 675 players from Indian sub-continent (score: 7.5/9.0), 1999