How to Effectively Scale ML & AI in Any Organization


As the Director of Data Science for the Growth and Revenue team at Shopify, Ella Hilal, Ph.D., is responsible for overseeing data operations that power the company’s marketing and international strategy.

In her talk, Dr. Hilal will speak to how you can bring the power of AI into any organization, walking through the key principles for effectively scaling machine learning and artificial intelligence. She will cover a variety of principles from creating a strong internal data culture, to incorporating machine learning models as a seamless part of the product experience, to why complex models are not always the best solution (at first).

Dr. Hilal will provide key takeaways from use cases at Shopify and the unique challenges of serving over 1.7 million entrepreneurs around the world.


Ella Hilal is an active researcher and a subject matter expert with more than 15 years of experience in data intelligence, machine learning, ambient intelligence, autonomous systems, and Internet of Things, backed by versatile experience in academia and the tech industry in proactive innovation, solution development, and turning novel ideas into revenue-generating products. Dr. Hilal has been recognized as one of the leading women in the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine space by the Connected World forum. She has a Doctorate degree in Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence from the University of Waterloo. She is the Director of Data Science and Engineering for Plus and International at Shopify. Dr. Hilal is also an adjunct assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Hilal has been recognized for numerous prestigious awards, most prominent of which are NSERC IRDF, NSERC CGS, Fulbright, DAAD, and OGS. Dr. Hilal is an active evangelist for responsible innovation, women in tech, and STEM. She has also been recognized by the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship as a Google scholar for her active role and leadership in supporting women in technology. She has been recognized as a champion in a Women in Technology Peer2Peer group, where professionals in the Waterloo region explore challenges and share insights to encourage retention and advancement of women in technology.

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