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The Laboratory for Information Analysis and Knowledge Mobilization


The Laboratory for Information Analysis and Knowledge Mobilization (LIAKM) is a multi-disciplinary, multi-university laboratory that provides the environment for a strong group of researchers and scientists to develop and investigate how knowledge and data can be used within various disciplines and across disciplines. LIAKM partners with key companies and public (health) organizations to complete projects that develop and put into practice innovative means of acquiring, representing, processing and managing informatics knowledge and processes.  We also produce researchers with robust multidisciplinary knowledge and credentials who are prepared for creative careers with industry, government and with (health care, legal, policy-makers and so on) service providers.

LIAKM's primary goals are to:

  • be a center of excellence in information analysis research that extends the conceptual underpinnings of Informatics;
  • provide a focus for intra- and inter-Faculty multidisciplinary informatics research that attracts both faculty and student involvement. Informatics problems provide interesting and arresting real-life topics with our partners for Masters and Ph.D. theses, for undergraduate research, as well as for faculty research; and
  • be a vehicle to cross boundaries, both academic and commercial, to deliver transformative solutions to actual problems posed by our partners in the private and government sectors by participating on projects of mutual interest and providing expertise. Our efforts to mobilize the knowledge created in LIAKM will directly benefit our cooperating partners.


We link to the burgeoning field of digital humanities research, allowing analysis of trends in cultural and linguistic diversity and large-scale historical shifts that have immediate implications for other fields such as public policy and market economics.

An ancillary goal established for the Centre is to promote job creation from knowledge mobilization and commercialization of developments, which naturally are outcomes of LIAKM.



LIAKM will engage in the following:

  • Act as a main centre of expertise, information repository and clearinghouse for other institutions or organizations that are researching and developing Informatics-based applications and technologies.
  • Form strategic and specific project alliances with other related institutions and companies, especially in North America, that strengthen the role and international visibility of York/OCADU/U of T/U of O in the information arts, sciences and engineering.
  • Undertake basic and applied research into the use of information technologies to support a wide variety of applications, for example people-centred health, pharmaceutical and biological therapies, drug administration, health system management, legal applications (sentencing databases, precedence finding, and so on), and decision-support.
  • Provide a clearinghouse for digital humanities research resources, linking to efforts in Canada (including existing centres in statistics and linguistics) and at the international level. One example: most of modern natural language processing has been accelerated because of statistical methods and more and more open access to large text corpora and linguistic data repositories and the like.
  • Sponsor programs that support the field, disseminate information and assist industry, government and academic researchers in their endeavours.
  • Perform research into the evolving methods and technologies of informatics.
  • Link to and build upon the Centre for Information Visualization/Data Driven Design to engage visualization skills and visual analytics as one method to approach data analysis.
  • Undertake funded, contract research in the field.
  • Develop reusable infrastructure to support the work of LIAKM.

LIAKM fosters the development of partnerships and collaborations built on new understandings and new cultures. Computer Science and Mathematics are often found at the center of interdisciplinary partnerships as technology so often facilitates the transition of ideas to practicality.  Formal program based partnerships such as Health Informatics (partnership of Arts, Health, Law, Business and Science) or Electronic Commerce (partnership of Management, Law, Information Technology and Computer Science & Engineering) co-exist with research oriented informal partnerships, such as On-line Education (Mathematics, Education, and Computer Science), New Interface Design (Psychology, Design and Computer Science), pediatric information delivery (Psychology, Health and Computer science), humanities, social science, design and cultural trends research (Cultural Studies, Contemporary Ethnography and Anthropologies, Strategic Foresight, Cultural Trends, Biomedical Design, Advanced Manufacturing Design at OCADU). 

As an example, major issues in current health care practice suggest the need to organize, manage and promote research into the use of information and information technologies in support of health and wellness, pharmaceutical, and biological-based therapeutics. Future effectiveness of health care requires an integration of health systems and pharmaceutical and biological treatments with managed information and advanced information technologies. The most important issue in health care is data access and, in Canada, we have better data than most countries.

York has offered Interdisciplinary PhDs, based on personal informal partnerships formed across the campus.  This program has further potential because of the increased interest in the program largely from lack of infrastructure and could easily reach a base of 50-60 students. LIAKM will provide both a "virtual home" for such interdisciplinary programs and research efforts as well as, and more importantly longer term, a physical home where students can work and interact, where faculty members can have office presence, as well as host meetings, seminars, and partake in remote collaboratory facilities, similar to the IRMACS Centre at Simon Fraser University. Specialized university partner OCAD University has established success with interdisciplinary programs that bridge art, design, humanities, social science research, with links to faculty from sciences, engineering and medical research at comprehensive universities.

LIAKM focuses the informatics interdisciplinary energy at York, supports new programs and research initiatives, seeks out funding opportunities, and attracts post-docs and new faculty members from a wide range of disciplines to York. It links with collaborating institutions such as OCADU, with its strengths in digital humanities, cultural studies, social science and design research and the strong science and engineering at the universities of Toronto and Ottawa.


Principal Investigators

Nick Cercone, FIEEE, is a Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at York University. A world renowned researcher in the area of artificial intelligence and data mining, his current research interests in Artificial Intelligence include automated natural language understanding, computational linguistics, and knowledge representation; in Knowledge-Based Systems include knowledge discovery, data analysis and data mining; and in Human-Machine Interfaces include natural language and multimedia interfaces. He is the author of over 400 refereed publications and has graduated more than 90 graduate students.  His current major grants include NSERC Discovery, NSERC CRD, NSERC ENGAGE, and IBM SUR. Previously, he has served as the Dean of Faculty of Science and Engineering at York University; Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Chair of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo and Associate Vice President (Research), Dean of Graduate Studies and International Liaison Officer at the University of Regina, and Chair of Computer Science and Director of the Centre for Systems Science at Simon Fraser University.

Cercone co-founded Computational Intelligence, edits Knowledge and Information Systems, and serves on the editorial board of nine journals. He is a member of the ACM, Fellow of IEEE, AAAI, and ACL, and a past president of the CSCSI/SCEIO (Canadian Society for Computational Studies of Intelligence), of the Canadian Society for Fifth Generation Research, and of the Canadian Association for Computer Science (CACS/AIC). Cercone served on the Canadian Genome Assessment and Technology Board, the CANARIE Board, the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) Research Committee, the Saskatchewan Research Council Board, the Regina Economic Development Authority and as a board member of the Information & Communications Technology Council. Cercone also serves on NSERC, CFI, CHRP, CRC and NSF committees. In 1996 he won the Canadian AI Society's Distinguished Service Award and in 2010 the Outstanding Contribution award for IEEE/ACM Web Intelligence Consortia. In 2002 Cercone became a Fellow of the IEEE for contributions to Knowledge Discovery. Previously, he has won two best paper awards at international forums.

Training highly qualified personnel is an area in which Cercone has enjoyed significant success. Former students include a CRC Tier I (C. Chan), University Research Professor (H. Hamilton), Linguistics Chair (McFetridge), Associate Dean (F. Popowich), Presidential Young Investigator (X. Hu), best selling author (C. Larman), Computer Science Chair (R. Mercer), NSERC Accelerator awardee (A. An), industry Director of Research (T. Abou-Assaleh, R. Sweidan, W. Yu), Teaching award (J. Zhang); 21 are university professors (11 in Canada).

Sheila Embleton, FRSC, is Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics at York University. From 2000-09 she was Vice-President Academic & Provost, from 2004-08 Chair of the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents, from 2006-07 Chair of the National Vice-Presidents Academic Council, from 1994-2000 associate dean in the Faculty of Arts, and before that she had significant experience as both an undergraduate program director (Linguistics) and graduate program director (English). She is best known for her path-breaking research in applying mathematical and statistical methods to linguistics, particularly in historical linguistics and in dialectology. She is also well known in historical linguistics and onomastics, as well as Peircean semiotics and language and gender. She has been a visiting professor/scholar at Charles University in Prague and at UCLA. She is the author of one book, 9 edited volumes, 59 refereed publications, 97 reviews, and over 150 presentations. She has supervised 5 graduate students, been on 60 further graduate committees, and acted 9 times as external examiner. She has a particular passion for internationalizing all dimensions of universities, and for emphasizing the interdisciplinary needs of contemporary teaching and research. Her research has attracted significant SSHRCC research funding, and her articles and presentations have been in the most prestigious venues in her various subfields. In addition, she has contributed greatly to professional life in her fields, having been associate editor, review editor, or a member of the core editorial board in most of the highest-ranking journals in her fields, as well as having been president of most of the major associations (past-president of the International Quantitative Linguistics Association, American Name Society, the Canadian Society for the Study of Names, the Linguistic Association of Canada and the US [LACUS], the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute; current president of the International Council of Onomastic Sciences, Canadian Friends of Finland Education Foundation, and Canada-India Education Council; executive director of LACUS). She has served repeatedly as a referee for articles and grants, nationally and internationally and in several languages, as well as on many evaluation committees for organizations such as SSHRCC, and international research assessment exercises. In addition to her Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, she has been honoured for her professional contributions by being an invited member of Suomalaisen kirjallisuuden seura (Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki), a Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland, a member of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, London, and several awards related to internationalization. She has served as a consultant to many universities, provincial and federal government departments, publishers, Mitacs, several academic consulting firms, and a national HR consulting firm. She is currently a member of the board of Mprime & of CBIE (Canadian Bureau for International Education), and formerly of the board of MITACS.

Sara Diamond is President of OCAD University. She Diamond established the OCADU Digital Futures Initiative ($2 million/year) that links art and design to research in the social sciences, humanities, sciences and engineering, gaining major support ($9 million) to establish the Digital Media Research and Innovation Institute. She is co-principal investigator of the Centre for Information Visualization and Data Driven Design, York University/OCADU collaboration. From the 1980s onwards her research and her artistic practices have deployed media studies and then digital humanities methods to focus on social history, social media and networks and collaborative practices, systems and tools. Board of Directors roles include GRAND NCE, Canada; Ontario Ministry of Culture’s Minister’s Advisory Council on Arts & Culture, Toronto Arts Council Foundation, the Interactive Ontario and of ORANO, the NextMedia, Nuit Blanche, CIX and Mobile Innovation Week advisory committees. She has received research awards for her work in new media history, media art, language visualization, mobile content design, educational gaming, wearable technologies and collaborative tools. She has procured multi-year funding for the industry-led, academic research and development Mobile Experience Innovation Centre and is its Co-Chair. She was co-principal investigator of the Mobile Digital Commons Network (2003 – 2006), with its focus on location based narratives design and co-principal investigator of Am-I-Able (2003-4), a wearable technology research network.  As a humanities scholar Diamond created and was Editor-in-Chief of, an on-line showcase for new media art and design, in collaboration with Heritage Canada (2002 – 2010). She has written extensively about collaborative practices and technologies and about the histories of new media art and design. She established ReFresh, a biannual digital humanities conference on new media, art and technology histories, serving on its organizing committees and that of ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Art since 1995. She has curated significant new media exhibitions and historical retrospectives such as the Millennium Biennial, Beijing. . Her recent artistic practice is showcased at 

Dr. Diamond consults on the digital society strategy for Heritage Canada, the AUCC, SSHRC, CFI, Industry Canada, CRC, CHRC and DFAIT, including as a member of the cultural industry SAGIT. She provides advice for international governments, institutions and agencies as diverse as China, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Finland, Australia, Brazil, and the USA. Diamond is currently the Chair of the SSHRC Awards Committee. She takes part on editorial boards and conference panels such as ReFresh!, Leonardo, Convergence, SmartGraphics, Creativity and Cognition, ISEA and ZERO10.

Prior to her presidency at OCADU Diamond was the Director of Research for the Banff Centre. Diamond founded the Banff New Media Institute, a think tank, and research centre, artists’ residency program and a home for high-level summits and workshops. Relevant projects explored new media theory, digital archives, simulation, visualization, art and technology studies, design and bio-technology and mobile experience design. She has provided almost thirty keynotes in the field of digital humanities, including at the Future of Objectivity Conference, FIS, University of Toronto (where she was a co-organizer); the Pratt Lecture, Mount Allison University, New Brunswick; the STAN Conference, Ottawa; UNAM Mexico City; This Must be the Place, Tate London; Emocoa. Art. Ficial, Brasilia, Brazil; SUNY Buffalo, The Post-Human is Animal Series Perimeter Institute, the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, Computer Supported Collaborative Work, San Diego; the International Symmetry Conference, Budapest; Sibgrafi, Brazil; Eurographics, London, the Women’s University, South Korea; Creativity and Cognition, NSF, Washington. Her art resides in collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, where she was honoured with a retrospective in 1992 and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  In 2007 she was named one of Canada’s fifty most significant artists as part of the Canada Council’s fiftieth anniversary celebration. In 2009 she was honoured by election to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art.



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