Australian artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) business, Max Kelsen announced it has doubled its workforce in the past three months to meet demand for AI and ML solutions across a wide range of industries, including its collaboration with University of Queensland based research into the COVID-19 virus.

Based in Brisbane and founded in 2015, Max Kelsen applies AI and ML to analyse complex data sets for customers, deploying industry applicable, in-production solutions globally, for customers in a wide range of industries including healthcare, financial services, retail, travel and the public sector.

The organisation has grown from 18 staff in March to 34 today and it is expecting to hire at least another 16 highly skilled engineers, biologists, data scientists and other Australian based researchers over the next six months as customers in Australia and around the world accelerate their use of AI and ML to gain insight into their markets and speed up ‘time to science’.

The company is collaborating with Sally Shrapnel’s data analytics team at the University of Queensland, on a ground-breaking project to analyse the behaviour of COVID-19 in intensive care patients around the world.

Led by medical researcher, John Fraser, the COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium is collecting data from 50 countries and over 350 hospitals around the world. Max Kelsen, in collaboration with Shrapnel’s team, will use AI and other cutting-edge techniques to learn causative relationships in how the disease manifests at the acute stage.

The application of AI will enable the project consortium to analyse millions of data inputs about patient responses to the disease, to rapidly improve humanity’s understanding of risk factors, treatment efficacy strategies and other vitally important information.

To carry out these massive calculations without the application of AI and ML, would take humans dozens of years, whereas the compute power and analytics provided by Max Kelsen can provide valuable insight in days, or even hours, speeding up the potential for appropriate patient care responses in emergency care settings.

Max Kelsen’s engagement with the COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium, together with its work with other leading medical and life sciences projects and private industry, has required the company to significantly increase its workforce over the past three months, despite the fact the wider Australian economy has contracted.

Nick Therkelsen-Terry, CEO, Max Kelsen

In that context, Max Kelsen CEO and co-founder, Nick Therkelsen-Terry, said the company’s growth partly reflected the maturing of the AI and ML industry in Australia and the realisation that these technologies can significantly increase business value. He said Max Kelsen delivers innovation which is directly linked to the generation of business value and competitive advantage.

“Artificial intelligence and related technologies are the quiet achievers in helping humanity accelerate our understanding of all kinds of complex issues, from COVID-19, where we are working with the scientific community, to chronic diseases, and economic challenges such as improving supply chains in critical industries,” Therkelsen-Terry said.

“There is an opportunity for Australia to lead this industry globally, but we need the people with the right skills and the creation of the Queensland AI Hub is a key milestone in the development of the industry, including in regional areas of Queensland and Australia generally.”

He said the company can deliver innovation in the form of fast agile prototyping while maintaining close business alignment, allowing them to achieve demonstrable business value over and above traditional technology projects.

“Increasingly, this approach will deliver competitive advantage, often globally. Our growth is proof of an organisation which can help secure the future employability of Queenslanders in AI, as part of an industry which is rapidly being recognized as playing a key role in highly skilled job creation with real world, economic, social and medical applications.”

Therkelsen-Terry welcomed the recent announcement of a $5.5 million funding injection into the AI industry from the Queensland government to supercharge the growth of talent and skills in the AI industry, through the creation of Australia’s first AI Hub.

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