About AIMM Lab

AIMM – Artificial Intelligence and Mathematical Modelling Lab, was established in January 2020 under the leadership of Professor Jude Kong. Professor Kong serves as the Executive Director of the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium (ACADIC) and the Global South Artificial Intelligence for Pandemic and Epidemic Preparedness and Response Network (AI4PEP). Additionally, he is also the Regional Node Liaison to the steering committee of the Canadian Black Scientist Network.

Our primary focus at AIMM Lab is to develop and implement innovative mathematical, artificial intelligence, and data science methodologies and technologies for decision-makers in communities, industries, and governments. This is aimed at providing valuable insights into complex challenges stemming from real-world applications in ecology, public health, and data processing. Our research is inherently interdisciplinary, utilizing a diverse range of approaches from the analysis of nonlinear mathematical models to advanced data analysis techniques.

Through our interdisciplinary research program, we provide training opportunities to students interested in data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and mathematical and statistical modeling. Our lab is proud to have founded and currently hosts two influential mathematical and artificial intelligence modeling networks: The Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium (ACADIC) and the Global South Artificial Intelligence for Pandemic and Epidemic Preparedness and Response Network (AI4PEP).

Members of our lab engage in daily collaborations with researchers, government entities, industries, and community members across all the countries where AI4PEP and ACADIC hubs are located as well as throughout Canada.

Students and postdoctoral fellows who are part of AIMM gain essential and transferable skills throughout their tenure. These include the ability to develop research questions, write research and grant proposals, design and analyze mathematical models, manage data, mentor junior scientists, and conduct complex data analyses on large datasets. Our students and postdocs also receive valuable networking experiences within the university and beyond.

What we aim to achieve

Our Lab Objectives

Long-term Objective
To design and deploy novel mathematical, artificial intelligence and data science methodologies and technologies for decision ­makers in communities, industry and government in order to provide important insights into local and global-scale socio-ecological challenges.
Short-term Objectives
  1. Design and deploy AI, data science, and mathematical methodologies and technologies

2. Establish and maintain a dedicated group of academic researchers and train highly qualified individuals to address knowledge gaps, capacities, and generate solutions.

3. Inform community level, national, regional, and global policies, and practices on the use of AI, Mathematics, and data science methods to improve equity and to provide important insights into local and global-scale socio-ecological challenges.

Training/mentorship approach

The basic premise of our training and mentorship philosophy is to create a sense of family within the lab.  Our Director spend one-­on-­one time with each lab member to establish a relationship in which they feel comfortable and confident. We foster independence by encouraging lab members  to solve problems and build their own networks, but the Director always there to support them whenever needed. Mindful of the fact that it is not uncommon for PhD level and postdoctoral fellow (PDF) trainees to pursue nontraditional paths, We also encourage our trainees to assess their skills, values, and interests via a questionnaire during the first few weeks after joining my team. This self­assessment guides their career opportunities and with it, we help them develop a step-­by-­step plan to reach their goals. We revisit this questionnaire periodically during their degree/postdoc as things change as time progress. We meet with individual trainees twice a year for an in­depth check in and reciprocal evaluation where they can voice any concerns.


Most Significant Contributions

  1. Data dashboard, portals and air quality monitoring device: Our lab has facilitated research by creating data portals that house both conventional and unconventional data from communities (Africa in Data; Jane and Finch in Data), e.g.



These data portals are publicly available for researchers addressing disease outbreaks. A disease outbreak response requires a timely exchange of information between policymakers and the public. Moreover, people are usually keen to see how transmission dynamics are evolving in their communities, where their families live, or places they plan to travel. This indicates the urgent need for an up-to-date dashboard during an outbreak. To this end, we integrated the power of AI, predictive modeling, and simulations to develop COVID-19 and mpox monitoring dashboards that visualize information locally relevant to the public and policymakers (1) [12]

e.g.These tools are unique in that they not only provide real-time visualization but also detailed modeling and predictions down to the smallest administrative unit in each region. Experts and high-level policymakers use these tools to visualize the situation on the ground and enact policies accordingly. These dashboards are the official ones used by policymakers in Botswana, Eswatini, Cameroon, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe (https://acadic.org/covid-19-dashboards/), and the Jane and Finch community (Black Creek Community Health Centre) in Toronto (https://acadic.org/jane-and-finch- in-data/). The website for South Africa is viewed by more than one million people daily, and those for the other countries are viewed by more than 50,000 people daily.

Adding to these achievements, OUr lab in partnership with colleagues from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa have designed an air quality monitoring device currently being deployed across South Africa and in the oil sands tailing in Alberta ( https://www.sacaqm.org/). They are currently using the measurements from the device to study its impact on human health, especially in mining areas across South Africa.

  1. Helping government and local communities manage and contain COVID-19: The ability to predict the spread and impact of COVID-19 remains a crucial element for guiding governmental strategic policies and best practices, especially in low and middle-income countries facing distinct challenges. For example, while containment strategies showed relative success in curbing the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic’s debilitating socio-economic impacts imposed pressures on African governments to relax these important public health measures. To facilitate an informed phased transition from widespread to low-level or no transmission, the rapid transfer of comprehensive epidemiological data to strategic action plans is needed.

To this end, our lab assembled a team of over 52 experts from key academic and government institutions across Africa and Canada under the banner of the Africa-Canada Artificial Intelligence and Data Innovation Consortium (ACADIC) (https://acadic.org/). Working in Botswana, Eswatini, Cameroon, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, this consortium has successfully delivered locally nuanced analyses to monitor COVID-19; predict resurgences; identify and analyze emergent hotspots and outbreaks; identify individuals at higher risk of infection; stratify patients; identify gendered vulnerability; and develop strategic, highly targeted, and staged delivery plans of vaccines to priority areas. They are also conducting ongoing monitoring to enhance testing and development to ensure that public health interventions are equitable and effective.  These models are the official ones used by governments in their interactions with both local and national policymakers. This has been achieved with $1,2500,000 support from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). This work has been covered by major TV and radio programs and newspapers around the world (see Non-Refereed Contributions in Research Contributions Section for links).

As the world started recovering from COVID-19, mindful of how badly vulnerable communities were impacted by COVD-19, we secured a $250,000 NFRF-Exploratory grant to help support communities as they recover from COVID-19. He founded a network to support recovery, the Resilience Research Atlantic Alliance on Sustainability, Supporting Recovery and Renewal (REASURE2; (https://reasure2.org). He is working with colleagues at York University, Queen’s University, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), and Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (Brazil), under the network’s umbrella , to mobilize proactive, complex adaptive systems thinking and strategic foresight to identify and tackle the array of compounding, interacting, and interconnected challenges in vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Our exceptional contributions to helping government and communities contain and manage COVID-19 have earned our Director several prestigious awards and recognitions. These include the York Research Leader Award in 2020, acknowledgment as one of 2021’s Canadian Innovation Research Leaders, the title of Black Hero of Operational Research from the Operational Research Society, and the recognition of Community Change Maker by “People of YU” in 2022. Furthermore, he received the York University 2022 Faculty of Science Early Career Researcher Award. In 2023, he once again won the York Research Leader Award and received the York University 2023 President’s Emerging Research Leadership Award as well.

3. Pandemic and Epidemic Preparedness and Response: In 2022, just as the world was reopening, Dr. Kong created the Global South Artificial Intelligence for Pandemic and Epidemic Preparedness and Response Network (AI4PEP; https://ai4pep.org/) to help strengthen healthcare systems in communities. AI4PEP brings together an interdisciplinary team (approximately 160 in total) of clinical public health professionals, artificial intelligence experts, data scientists, epidemiologists, physicists, mathematicians, and software engineers, as well as disaster and emergency management specialists, citizen science advocates, and community engagement experts. These experts come from diverse disciplines and sectors, and include community health practitioners, program managers, policy and decision-makers at various government levels, and other key stakeholders from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and North Africa.

The network works closely with governments, public health agencies, civil society, and other actors:

i) to generate new knowledge and collaborations to inform practice and policies at subnational, national, regional, and global levels;
ii) to deepen the understanding of how responsible AI solutions can improve public health preparedness and response;

iii) to design and leverage reliable AI solutions towards equitable health;
iv) to deepen the understanding of how responsible AI solutions can improve clinical public health and global health preparedness and response to disease outbreaks in the Global South;
v) to mobilize responsible AI to build equitable, resilient governance strategies and increase societal preparedness for future global pandemics and epidemics; and
vi) to foster an open and respectful collaborative forum for learning and knowledge-sharing to improve the quality of analytical support offered to global health and clinical public health programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) and advancing general global health and clinical public health research.

This initiative has been achieved with $7,250,000 support from the IDRC. It has been covered by major TV and radio networks and newspapers around the world.

  1. UNESCO paper and UN Global AI Data Governance Papers: Because of the impact of Dr. Kong’s models in helping governments and communities to contain COVID-19, he was contacted to write a Policy Brief on how to leverage AI and Big Data techniques to inform disease outbreak policies for UNESCO, “Supporting Data-informed Decision-Making in Africa.” This has been distributed wide across all UNESCO member States and used by policy makers in the epidemic and pandemic preparedness and response framework.

In preparation for the inaugural meeting of the Multistakeholder Advisory Body on AI in 2023 the UN issued a call for papers on the following themes: Key Issues on Global AI Governance, Current Efforts in Global AI Governance, and Models in Global AI Governance. Dr. Kong brought together colleagues from the Global South to respond to this call with four collaborative papers. The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology responded very positively to these papers, noting in an email that the papers “will serve as foundational material for the High-Level Advisory Body on AI.”

  1. Mpox-Related Research: As an emerging leader in disease modeling, when monkeypox (mpox) was declared a major health concern in Canada in 2023 Prof. Kong immediately assembled a sub-team in his lab to focus on modeling mpox. Today, they take pride in being recognized as one of the leading teams that have made significant contributions to shaping mpox policies worldwide. His lab has published over 8 mpox-related papers that have received more than 232 citations in less than a year, underscoring their high relevance to both researchers and policymakers. This research emphasizes the roles of factors like stigma, cultural beliefs, healthcare accessibility, and legal frameworks, all of which can influence people’s willingness to disclose their mpox status or seek medical help. Recognizing these factors is crucial for the development of customized and comprehensive intervention packages that effectively address under-reporting and lead to more significant and lasting improvements in clinical public health.

The team’s initial actions involved the rapid collection and synthesis of early data related to epidemiological trends and clinical features of the ongoing outbreak. Dr. Kong made both conventional and unconventional data available for policymakers and researchers to use. Additionally, his team designed AI-powered data visualization frameworks (dashboards) to present the data and the state of mpox outbreaks, enabling the public and policymakers to track the situation. Furthermore, they developed the first risk-structured model for mpox, which incorporates the dynamics of sexual behavior. This model allowed comparison of different strategies targeting high-risk populations, considering a scenario of control policies focused on condom use and/or sexual abstinence (a robust control strategy), along with a scenario of control strategies that adapt to changes in the doubling rate (an adaptive control strategy). The model has the potential to offer valuable insights on the dynamic of the diseases to clinical public health decision-makers and policymakers, assisting them in developing and executing effective interventions, particularly for socially vulnerable communities, such as the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community.

  1. Leadership in Canadian Black Scientist Network (CBSN): Motivated to address the challenges of under-representation, a group of Black scientists across Canada, including our Director, met in summer 2020 and created a network for Black Canadian STEM scientists. This network is dedicated to mentorship, development, and visibility. Our Director currently serve as the Regional Node Liaison to the steering committee of the Canadian Black Scientist Network (CBSN) and am the current president of the Ontario node of CBSN (CBSN Ontario). In my role as a Regional Node Liaison, Jude oversee activities of all CBSN provincial nodes, ensuring coordination, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity of CBSN objectives. I also serve as the primary representative and spokesperson for the nodes at CBSN steering committee weekly meetings. 
  2. Founding a K-12 Mathematical Modeling Program (K-12 MathMods): In 2022, we established an innovative K-12 MathMods program aimed at equipping 300 Black students with high-demand mathematical modeling skills. The program’s goal is to enhance their quantitative abilities to contribute to sustainable development in Canada by applying mathematics to address real-life community issues. Led by Black Mathematics Professors, Postdocs, and students in partnership with Black students’ parents, this marks the inception of an inaugural K-12 mathematical modeling initiative in Canada, well-timed to align with evolving employment landscapes.
  3. SummerUP Program and Saturday Drop-in Sessions: Every summer, we offer a mathematics training program to Black High School students across Ontario called SummerUP. The program takes place from Tuesday to Friday (10 AM-1 PM) in July, with consistent engagement from 37-45 students each year. The program aims to:

Improve mathematics performance at a crucial point in their academic and career pathway.

Enhance prospects for admission into STEM-based post-secondary studies.

Increase confidence in the level of mathematics preparation for post-secondary studies.

Facilitate the joy of mathematics through community-oriented teaching/learning methodology.

Discover how mathematics learned in earlier education can be applied to solve real-life problems sourced from the community. Since 2021, my research lab has been offering Drop-in Homework Sessions to Black high students every Saturday from 10 AM – 12 PM. The first hour focuses on homework assistance, and the second on reviewing school materials. Students form small Zoom groups, guided by two instructors, including Black undergraduate students, graduate math students, postdocs, or professors. The program has commitments from 45 Black individuals with diverse educational backgrounds. Sessions are advertised on our website: Link. Parents join sessions via: Link. Our programs have received considerable interest, with invitations from Black churches across the Greater Toronto Area.

  1. Blacks in Mathematics Community: We have created a community to support Black students in the Mathematics Department at York. Every week, I meet with them for drop-in sessions and a conversation hour. I provide a “family” for them, allowing them to voice their concerns without fear of judgment. Currently, I have 20 students in attendance, with an anticipated increase in this number.
  2. STEM Fellowship National Undergraduate Big Data Challenge and Ask a Mathematician Program: we mentor students in the STEM Fellowship National Undergraduate Big Data Challenge and participate in the inquiry-driven learning program for undergraduate students from across the country to strengthen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Additionally, in partnership with the Fields Institute, I give weekly presentations to middle and high schools, reaching out to at least 30 youths every week.
  3. Productivity and Funding: We have been actively involved in organizing and participating in conferences, workshops, and publishing research in peer-reviewed journals relevant to the proposed research. Over the past 5 years, we have co-authored 116 papers, with 111 of them published in 2020. Out of these, 82 are peer-reviewed articles (77 from 2020), and 34 are currently under review. I maintain a Google Scholar citation index of 1149, with an h-index of 18 and an i10-index of 38. During the last 5 years, Jude has been a part of 100 conferences and workshops as a keynote speaker, invited speaker, panelist, or moderator, with 90 of these occurring between 2020 and 2023. Additionally, He has organized more than 33 conferences and workshops in the same period, with over 28 of them organized since 2020. Moreover, since 2020, Jude has made over 48 national and international media appearances to discuss my research program. He is the principal investigator (PI), co-principal investigator, and co- investigator on eight collaborative research grants, totaling more than $20,413,691,191 from funding sources, including NSERC, SSHRC, NFRF, CIHR, DRC, SIDA, SSHRC, and IDRC. Among these, Prof Jude Kong is the principal investigator in grants totaling more than $9,445,600.
  1. Committee Memberships and Contributions to scientific peer review: We have made significant contributions through my active involvement in various committee memberships, showcasing my commitment to academic and community service. Notably, Jude is currently serving as the Chair of the Canadian Mathematics Society MITACS Innovation Lecture Committee, demonstrating leadership and expertise in fostering innovation within the academic community. Additionally, He has played a pivotal role as a committee member in several committees at York University. As part of the YUFA – Community Projects, He has contributed to initiatives that bridge academia and the community. His engagement with the Competitions Committee (MCM/ICM) reflects his dedication to promoting academic excellence and fostering a competitive spirit among students. Furthermore, my involvement in committees such as the High School Liaison and Recruiting Committee and the Industrial Outreach Committee at York University underlines his commitment to educational outreach and strengthening ties between academia and industry. In recognition of my dedication to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion, He has been an active member of the Race Equity Caucus (REC) Committee at York.