Montréal’s place at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence research and development is easy to spot across the city. The city is home to internationally renowned think tanks and trendsetting corporations involved in ground-breaking innovation. The Canadian government chose Montréal as headquarters for SCALE AI, Canada’s AI supply chain supercluster. Companies such as Google, IBM, and DeepMind all have regional offices in the city. In short, Montréal is an AI powerhouse.
A meeting of genuine intelligence
This May, Montréal will host World Summit AI. It’s the global community gathering of 200,000 minds in the realm of Artificial Intelligence; the type of event where the most influential conversations on AI and the future of technology take place.
After two years of pandemic limitations, this year presents an exciting opportunity to network — in person! — with the brightest AI brains. The event is also known for having the best-of-the-best speakers. Past speakers include leaders from Apple, Facebook, Google, and so many more.
Big news: An international lab dedicated to artificial intelligence
A variety of Montréal research organizations have gathered together to form a new project called International Research Laboratory (IRL) focused on artificial intelligence. The new centre brings together McGill University, École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), Mila - Quebec AI Institute, France's Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Université Paris-Saclay, and the École Centrale Supélec.
A global hub of AI research and education
Montréal’s place at the forefront of international university cities has been recognized year after year, as the city continues to be named the best student city in the Americas. Greater Montréal’s 11 universities house over 155,000 students, including the largest number of university researchers in Canada. McGill University and Université de Montréal are ranked amongst the world’s best learning institutions, and the city is also home to the Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO).
Université de Montréal’s MILA (the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms) composes the largest and most renowned group of deep learning researchers in the world. MILA’s director Yoshua Bengio is a pioneer in the study of Deep Learning, and his research has been cited several thousand times in international studies. More than 250 doctoral students and researchers in Montréal make up the world’s largest academic concentration, developing a broad range of AI-related topics from language processing, reinforcement learning and computer vision.
But the movement doesn’t stop there. Several grassroots organizations including MTL Data, MTL Machine Learning and Data Driven MTL all operate in the city, alongside 125 Meetup groups with over 45,000 members connected to startups and independent initiatives.
The heavy hitters
The world’s heaviest hitters in cutting-edge technologies have also flocked to Montréal, both furthering existing operations and founding their own.
- Google has invested heavily in the city’s research initiatives (including multi-million dollar donations to Mila) and launched its own Google Brain AI research lab in Montréal headed by deep learning specialist Hugo Larochelle.
- The Microsoft Research Lab (formerly the ground-breaking deep learning startup Maluuba, previously acquired by Microsoft) is just part of their dedication to the city’s development as a centre-point in AI study, development and business.
- IBM Research has opened a lab working directly with Mila, advancing AI development through academic collaboration.
- Facebook’s FAIR research lab, headed by McGill’s noted computer researcher and Governor General’s Innovation Award-winner Joëlle Pineau, has played a vital part in the company’s innovative research.
- DeepMind’s Montréal office – the company’s second in Canada – is headed by noted Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science at McGill, Doina Precup.
- Borealis AI’s Montréal research centre is housed in a converted textile factory, and led under Simon Prince’s guiding hand.
- The Havas Group AI Innovation Centre’s Montréal office focuses on the role of AI in customer experience – using the city’s annual trendsetting C2 conference as a work study subject.
- Huawei, in collaboration with Polytechnique Montréal, founded the NSERC/Huawei Industrial Research Chair in Future Wireless Technologies (AKA the Future Wireless Chair, or FuWiC).
- Montréal’s Samsung AI Centre works directly with Seoul National University, strengthening the international flow of information and development.
This list could go on and on — but for more information on the local AI scene, visit the website of Montréal International and read the industry profile!
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