Patrick M. Pilarski, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Machine Intelligence for Rehabilitation
Assistant Professor, Div. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dept. of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. of Computing Science
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
Research Affiliate, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, AB
Principal Investigator, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii)
Principal Investigator, Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence (RLAI) Laboratory
Principal Investigator, Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control (BLINC) Laboratory
+1 (780) 248-5636
5-020F Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research
Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
5-005 Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2E1
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 the Amii Adaptive Prosthetics Program—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, a Senior Member of the IEEE, and is currently supported by provincial, national, and international research grants.
Model-free interpretation of online, multi-signal human biofeedback (for example, myoelectric signals).
Pattern analysis and machine learning methods to facilitate the rapid, automated assessment of genetic anomalies in medical imaging samples (e.g., lab-on-a-chip fluorescent in situ hybridization images).
Pathogen detection in meat and other substances intended for human consumption.
Above: Custom robotic hardware, designed by our group with machine intelligence in mind—the Bento Arm with attached HANDi Hand (image thanks to M. R. Dawson).
General Research Interests:
Artificial intelligence, reinforcement learning, and machine learning.
Human-machine interfaces, adaptive distributed systems, and cognitive science.
Cybernetics and intelligence amplification.
Biomedical image analysis, pattern analysis, data mining, and computer vision.
Autonomous mobile robotics and rehabilitation robotics.
Nanobiotechnology, biomedical engineering, and lab-on-a-chip devices.
Current Students and Trainees:
Nadia Ady (PhD Student, Dept. Computing Science)
Kory W. Mathewson (PhD Student, Dept. Computing Science)
Global News Edmonton, "University of Alberta researchers are producing SMART: Sensory Motor Adaptive Rehabilitation Technology Network and they're blowing minds and solving medical mysteries. Su-Ling Goh reports," Jan. 12, 2017. (Video
Patrick M. Pilarski is the co-editor of DailyHaiku, an international journal of contemporary English-language haiku, and poetry editor for its new sister publication DailyHaiga. He is author of the poetry collection Huge Blue (Leaf Press, 2009), and the chapbooks Contemplating Vows (with Nicole Pakan; Katabatic Books, 2011) and Five Weeks (2007). Patrick's creative writing has appeared in journals and anthologies across North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan, and on CBC Radio One as part of the CBC Poetry Face-off. An active member of the literary community, he has served as an organizer for the Edmonton Poetry Festival and as the Vice President of the League of Canadian Poets.
Peer-reviewed Journal, Conference, and Book Publications:
Patrick M. Pilarski, Jacqueline S. Hebert, “Upper and Lower Limb Robotic Prostheses,” in Robotic Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice, Eds. P. Encarnacao and A. M. Cook, pp. 99–144. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-4987-4572-7. (Published PDF)
P. M. Pilarski, R. S. Sutton, K. W. Mathewson, “Prosthetic Devices as Goal-Seeking Agents,” Second Workshop on Present and Future of Non-Invasive Peripheral-Nervous-System Machine Interfaces: Progress in Restoring the Human Functions (PNS-MI), Singapore, Aug. 11, 2015. 4 pages. (PDF)
P.M. Pilarski, A.L. Edwards, and K.M. Chan, “Novel Control Strategies for Arm Prostheses: A Partnership Between Man and Machine,” The Japanese Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 91–95, 2015.
S. Adamia, P.M. Pilarski, M. Bar-Natan, R.M. Stone, J.D. Griffin, “Alternative splicing in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML): A novel therapeutic target?” Current Cancer Drug Targets, Vol. 13(7): 735–748, September 2013. (PubMed)
S. Adamia, P.M. Pilarski, A.R. Belch and L.M Pilarski, “Aberrant Splicing, Hyaluronan Synthases and Intracellular Hyaluronan as Drivers of Oncogenesis and Potential Drug Targets,” Current Cancer Drug Targets, Vol. 13(4): 347–361, May 2013. (PubMed)
P.M. Pilarski, M.R. Dawson, T. Degris, J.P. Carey, K.M. Chan, J.S. Hebert, and R.S. Sutton, “Towards Prediction-Based Prosthetic Control,” Proc. of the 17th International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society Conference 2012 (IFESS), Sept. 9-12, Banff, Canada, pp. 26–29, 2012. (PDF)
A.R. Mahmood, R.S. Sutton, T. Degris, and P.M. Pilarski, “Tuning-Free Step-Size Adaptation,” Proc. of the 37th IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), March 25-30, Kyoto, Japan, pp. 2121–2124, 2012. (PDF)
Pilarski, L.M., Reiman, T., Pilarski, P.M., Orr, F.W., Belch, A.R., “The Malignant Hierarchy in Multiple Myeloma: Relationships Between Malignant Cells and Bone Disease.” Bone Metastasis and Molecular Mechanisms, Chapter 7, pp. 109-138, Editors: Singh, G. and Orr, F.W., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004.
Other Contributions—Extended Abstracts, Abstracts, Posters, and Presentations:
Boser Q, Valevicius A, Lavoie E, Chapman CS, Pilarski PM, Hebert JS, Vette AH, “Comparison Of Anatomical And Cluster-Based Upper Body Marker Models,” 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics. Raleigh, North Carolina. August 2-5, 2016.
Valevicius A, Boser Q, Lavoie E, Vette AH, Chapman CS, Pilarski PM, Hebert JS, “Normative Kinematic Data For Two Functional Upper Limb Tasks,” 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics. Raleigh, North Carolina. August 2-5, 2016.
D. P. Manage, J. Lauzon, P. Ward, P. M. Pilarski, L. M. Pilarski, L. M. McMullen, “Cassette PCR for Rapid Detection of pathogenic Escherichia coli in Meat,” Biodefense World Summit, June 27, 2016, Baltimore, MD. (Poster, abstract, talk.)
P. A. Toniolo, P. M. Pilarski, C. Bach, J.D. Griffin, S. Adamia, “MicroRNAs as potential therapeutic agents for AML: Targeting the AML1-ETO Oncogene by pre-miR-520 and-373,” Proceedings of the AACR 106th Annual Meeting, April 18-22, Philadelphia, PA, 2015; and Cancer Research 75 (15 Supplement), pp. 3972-3972.
A. Kearney, A. Koop, M. Bowling, P.M. Pilarski, “Partition Tree Learning for Improved Control of Myoelectric Prosthetics,” 8th Annual Workshop for Women in Machine Learning, Co-located with NIPS, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Dec. 05, 2013. (Oral and poster presentation.)
A.S.R. Parker, P.M. Pilarski, “Intelligent Communication and Control of Prosthetic Limbs,” 3rd Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, November 22, 2013, abstract and poster presentation).
J.S. Hebert, K.M. Chan, J. Olson, P.M. Pilarski, and M.R. Dawson, “A Novel Targeted Sensory Reinnervation Method to Improve Function of Myoelectric Prostheses after Arm Amputation,” 2012 ACRM-ASNR Annual Conference: Progress in Rehabilitation Research (Vancouver, Canada, October 9-13, 2012; abstract and 90 minute symposium session).
T. Degris, P.M. Pilarski, J. Modayil, R.S. Sutton, M.J. Cimolini, and J. Raso, "An Encouraging Mobile Robot in the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital," 7th International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics, ICIAM 2011 (Vancouver, Canada, July 18?22, 2011, poster presentation.)
P.M. Pilarski, T. Degris, and R.S. Sutton “Small-Timescale Reinforcement Learning for Power Management on a Mobile Robot,”2010 Alberta Power Industry Consortium Power and Energy Innovation Forum (Edmonton, Canada, Nov. 4, 2010, invited poster presentation).
P.M. Pilarski, M.R. Dawson, T. Degris, F. Fahimi, J. Carey, and R.S. Sutton, "Continuous Actor-Critic Methods for Adaptive Prosthetics," in proceedings of the 2010 MITACS / CORS Joint Annual Conference (Edmonton, Alberta, May 25-28, 2010; abstract and oral presentation).
A. Mahmood, T. Degris, P.M. Pilarski, and R.S. Sutton, "Robust Step-size Adaptation for Online Optimization," in proceedings of the 2010 MITACS/CORS Joint Annual Conference (Edmonton, May 25-28, 2010, abstract, poster, and oral presentation).
P.M. Pilarski, X.T. Su, D.M. Glerum, and C.J. Backhouse, "Disease Characterization Using Wide-Angle Light Scattering Patterns", in proceedings of the iCORE Alberta Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Research Symposium (University of Alberta, Edmonton, 22 June 2009, abstract and poster).
S. Adamia, A. Reichert, A. Ghosh, J. Hodges, P. Pilarski, S. Treon, M.J. Mant, T. Reiman, A.R. Belch, and L.M. Pilarski, "Gerraline and somatic mutations in the hyaluronan synthase-1 (HAS1) gene may contribute to oncogenesis in multiple myeloma (MM) and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia (WM)," Blood, Vol. 110(11): 733A-734A, 2007.
Pilarski, P. M., Sieben, V. J., Marun, C. D. & Backhouse, C. J., "Computer vision for fish screening in myeloma", in proceedings of the XIth International Myeloma Workshop (Kos 2007, poster), and Haematologica - The Hematology Journal, Vol. 92: 108-108, 2007.
Sieben, V. J., Debes-Marun, C., Pilarski, P. M.; Kaigala, G. K., Pilarski, L. M. & Backhouse, C. J., "Microchips for optimized fish screening in myeloma," in proceedings of the XIth International Myeloma Workshop (Kos 2007, oral), and Haematologica - The Hematology Journal, Vol. 92: 64-65, 2007.
V. J. Sieben, C. S. Debes-Marun, P. M. Pilarski, G. V. Kaigala, L. M. Pilarski, and C. Backhouse, "FISH AND CHIPS: Chromosomal analysis utilizing microfluidic platforms," in proceedings of Nanotechnology in Biomedicine (Keystone) (Tahoe City, California, USA, 2007, poster).
P.M. Pilarski, V.J. Sieben, C. Debes Marun, and C.J. Backhouse, "An artificial intelligence system for detecting abnormal chromosomes in malignant lymphocytes," proceedings of the iCORE Alberta Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Research Symposium (University of Alberta, Edmonton, 04 May 2007, abstract & poster).
Debes Marun CS, Sieben V, Pilarski PM, Reiman T, Belch AR, Pilarski LM. "FISH and Chips: Novel Point of Care Technology to Detect Chromosomal Abnormalities", Blood 108: 971a, 2006.
Adamia S, Hodges J, Pilarski PM, Teron S, Mant MJ, Reiman T, Belch AR, Pilarski LM. "Accumulation of inherited and acquired mutations in hyaluronan synthase 1 gene may contribute to oncogenesis in multiple myeloma and Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia", Blood 108: 980a, 2006.
Pilarski, P.M., Sieben, V.J., Debes Marun, C., Backhouse, C.J., "An Artificial Intelligence System for Detecting Abnormal Chromosomes in Malignant Lymphocytes", in proceedings of the Candian Society for Immunology conference (Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2006, oral, abstract, and poster).
Pilarski, P.M., Siu, N., Iverson, L., "Email Redirected: A User-centric Reinvention of Email Clients", in proceedings of the Advanced Systems Institute of British Columbia ASI Exchange 2004 (Vancouver
Canada, 2004, abstract and poster)
Pilarski, P.M., Prakash, R., Adamia, S., Kaler, K.V.I.S., Backhouse, C.J. " Microvalving in Genetic Analysis Systems", poster for the International Conference on MEMS, Nano and Smart Systems (IEEE Conference) (Banff, AB, 2003).
Adamia, S., Pilarski, P.M., Lauzon, J., Backhouse, C.J., Pilarski, L.M. "Microfluidics Platforms for Molecular Monitoring of Human Cancer", in proceedings of the
Cancer Board Annual Research Meeting (
AB, 2003, abstract and poster).
Adamia, S., Footz, T., Prakash, R., Pilarski, P.M., Pilarski, L.M., Backhouse, C.J. "Microfluidics platforms for genetic analysis", in proceedings of the American Society for Microbiology Bio-, Micro-, Nanosystems (New York, 2003, abstract and poster).
Adamia, S., Pilarski, P.M., Prakash, R., Lauzon, J., Backhouse, C.J. and Pilarski, L.M. "Microsystems and Cancer: Improved Detection of Disease Related Genes in Myeloma Patients Using Microfluidics Platforms", in proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (San Diego, CA, 2003, abstract) and Blood 102 (11): 2528, 2003.
"Communicative Capital: Bridging the Gap between Users and their Assistive Technology," Invited talk for the Workshop on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics for Neuromuscular Rehabilitation and Recovery Assessment in the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM2016), Banff, Alberta, Canada, July 12?15, 2016.
“Knowledge,” RLAI Tea Time Talk, Edmonton, June 13, 2016. (PDF)
"Machine Learning (and why you should care)," keynote, 2016 Student Developer Conference, Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, March 12, 2016.
"Smart Parts and Better Bionic Bodies", invited talk for Dark Matters: Robots, IMAX Theatre, Telus World of Science, Edmonton, March 10, 2016.
“Novel Control Strategies for Arm Prostheses - a Partnership between Man and Machine,” K. M. Chan & P.M. Pilarski, invited keynote for the 51st Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting, Nagoya, Japan, 5 June 2014.
“Recent Advances in Upper-Limb Prosthetic Technology,” P.M. Pilarski, invited seminar for the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), Prosthetic & Orthotic Department, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong, China, 31 May 2014.
“Knowledgeable neuroprostheses: machine intelligence for the improved control of next-generation artificial limbs,” invited seminar for Centre for Neuroscience Seminar Series, Edmonton, AB, Canada, Feb. 03, 2014.
"Machine Learning and Image Analysis for Lab-on-a-Chip Medical Diagnostics", P.M. Pilarski, invited seminar for Department of Computing Science Artificial Intelligence Seminar Series (University of Alberta, September 2009).
"Computational intelligence and computer vision for use with emerging micro and nanotechnology devices", P.M. Pilarski, invited seminar for the Reykjavik University School of Computer Science and School of Science and Engineering (Reykjavik University, Iceland, October 14, 2008).
"A New Look at Rapid Medical Diagnostics", P.M. Pilarski, invited presentation for the University of Alberta Senate (Univeristy of Alberta, January 2008).
"Nanobiotechnology: lab-on-a-chip for rapid medical diagnostics", P.M. Pilarski, invited talk, Operating Room Nurses of Alberta Annual Conference (Red Deer, Alberta, Oct 25, 2007).
"Nanobiotechnology", P. M. Pilarski, V.J. Sieben, G.V. Kaigala, The Alberta Clinical Engineering Society Telehealth Educational Series (University of Alberta, Edmonton, 21 February 2006).
"A Computational Method for Rapid Cellular Identification", P. M. Pilarski, 1st Annual Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Students' Association Conference (University of Alberta, Edmonton, 27 January 2006).
"Cellular Level Computing: rapid medical diagnostics for cancerous cell identification", P. M. Pilarski, invited research presentation, Netera Days: Exploring New Tools For Research (University of Alberta, Edmonton, 12 October 2005).
"Thinking Small: An Introduction to Nanotechnology", P. M. Pilarski, invited presentation for FGSR Outreach - Peace River Highschool (University of Alberta, Edmonton, June 2005).
"Ants Marching: Swarm-Based Feature Characterization", P. M. Pilarski, invited research presentation, Facility for Advanced Computational Intelligence and Applications (University of Alberta, Edmonton, November 2004).
"Intelligent Microvalving in Genetic Analysis Systems", P. M. Pilarski, invited research presentation, Cross Cancer Institute (Edmonton, July 2003).