Patrick M. Pilarski, Ph.D. (Faculty)

Dr. Patrick M. Pilarski is a Canada Research Chair in Machine Intelligence for Rehabilitation at the University of Alberta, and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine. Dr. Pilarski is a principal investigator with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) and the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (RLAI). Dr. Pilarski received the B.ASc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 2004, the Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Alberta in 2009, and completed his postdoctoral training in computing science with Dr. Richard S. Sutton at the University of Alberta. Dr. Pilarski’s research interests include reinforcement learning, real-time machine learning, human-machine interaction, rehabilitation technology, and assistive robotics. He leads an interdisciplinary initiative focused on creating intelligent artificial limbs to restore and extend abilities for people with amputations. As part of this research, Dr. Pilarski explores new machine learning techniques for sensorimotor control and prediction, including methods for human-device interaction and communication, long-term control adaptation, and patient-specific device optimization. He has also pioneered techniques for rapid cancer and pathogen screening through work on biomedical pattern recognition, robotic micro-manipulation of medical samples, and hand-held diagnostic devices. Dr. Pilarski is the author or co-author of more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, recipient of multiple best paper awards, and is currently supported by provincial, national, and international research grants.


  • B.ASc., Electrical Engineering, UBC, 2004
  • Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, 2009


  • Assistant Professor, Division of Physical Medicine of Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Computing Science, University of Alberta
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta
  • Principal Investigator, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), University of Alberta
  • Principal Investigator, Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (RLAI), University of Alberta
  • Principal Investigator, Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control Laboratory (BLINC), University of Alberta
  • Research Affiliate, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton

Current Students and Trainees

    • Nadia Ady (PhD Student, Dept. Computing Science)
    • Kory W. Mathewson (PhD Student, Dept. Computing Science)
    • Craig Sherstan (PhD Student, Dept. Computing Science)
    • Anna Koop (PhD Student, Dept. Computing Science, on leave)
    • Alexandra Kearney (MSc Student, Dept. Computing Science,Co-supervision with R. Sutton)
    • Dylan Brenneis (MSc Student, Dept. Mechanical Engineering, Co-supervision with J. Carey)
    • Jaden Travnik (MSc Student, Dept. Computing Science)
    • Gautham Vasan (MSc Student, Dept. Computing Science)
    • Vivek Veeriah (MSc Student, Dept. Computing Science, Co-supervision with R. Sutton)
    • Adam S. R. Parker (Undergraduate Researcher, Dept. Electrical and Computer Engineering)