$100M for AI development in Greater Montréal

The Government of Québec announced the creation of a steering committee that will develop a strategic plan to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) cluster in Québec. Over the next five years, $100 million will go towards creating and developing an AI cluster.

“The AI cluster will strengthen Québec’s position as world leader in Deep Learning and foster collaboration between universities, research and innovation centres, incubators, accelerators, startups, small and large businesses, and capital providers, both here and abroad,” said Pierre Boivin, President and CEO of Claridge, co-chair of the steering committee that will guide the project.

Clearly, technology is experiencing strong momentum in Greater Montréal. Montréal International, Greater Montréal’s investment promotion agency, unveiled unprecedented results for fiscal 2016, including over $1.347 billion in foreign direct investment.

“Last year, about 75% of foreign companies that received support from Montréal International were in the high-tech sectors, and 20% were in AI,” said Hubert Bolduc, President and CEO of Montréal International. “It is crucial that we focus on this area of excellence, develop it and showcase it to the world,” added Mr. Bolduc.

For a complete profile of Greater Montréal’s AI industry, go to:

http://www.montrealinternational.com/en/publications/greater-montreal-an-artificial-intelligence-hub/

Highlights:

  • The AI cluster will leverage the expertise developed by the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), which has received a $14.9-million grant from the Government of Québec.
  • Université de Montréal and McGill University have more than 250 researchers and Ph.D. students in Deep Learning-related fields—the largest university concentration in the world.
  • On November 21, Google announced a $4.5-million investment over three years to support AI research in Montréal. The grant will fund the work of eight researchers, including Yoshua Bengio, one of the world’s leading experts in the field.
  • Google also announced that it would be opening a new artificial intelligence lab in Montréal dedicated to Deep Learning. The lab will be run by Hugo Larochelle and will be working closely with Montréal universities.
  • On January 18, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Microsoft announced that, following its acquisition of Montréal startup Maluuba, it plans to double the startup’s size within two years. Maluuba specializes in AI through natural language understanding.
  • Microsoft also announced that it would award Université de Montréal and McGill University respectively $6 million and $1 million in grants for AI research over five years.

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