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After Google, Microsoft sets up in Montréal

January 18, 2017

Microsoft will hire 40 specialists in artificial intelligence (AI) and will provide gifts for research of $6 million to the Université de Montréal and $1 million to McGill University.

This investment by the IT giant comes a week after announcing its intent to acquire Montréal-based Maluuba. As one of the world’s leading deep-learning research labs, Maluuba is focused on creating literate machines that can think, reason and communicate like humans, advancing Microsoft’s work in machine reading and writing.

“Microsoft is excited to engage with faculties, students and the broader tech community in Montréal, which is becoming a global hub for AI research and innovation,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft.

“Microsoft’s investment is proof of Canadians’ world-renowned expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning. This emerging field of research has the potential to revolutionize computing by transforming vast amounts of information into useful insights. The future of every industry, from finance and health to manufacturing and transportation, will be shaped by advances in artificial intelligence. And research conducted in Canada will play a defining role in developing this enabling technology, which will create better jobs and opportunities for Canadians, said Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Microsoft has chosen to focus on Québec talent, on the know-how of our researchers as well as on our expertise and innovative technologies. In a constantly evolving global economic context, artificial intelligence is a sector at the cutting edge of technology that helps propel societies towards the digital economy. It’s a sign of recognition and confidence towards Québec’s strengths,” said Québec Premier Couillard.

Founded in 2011 by University of Waterloo graduates, Sam Pasupalak and Kaheer Suleman, Maluuba is part of Montréal’s growing concentration of the world’s leading AI researchers. A driving force behind this vibrant ecosystem is Yoshua Bengio, a renowned expert on AI and a founding father of the deep-learning movement. Yoshua, who heads the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms, has served as an advisor to Maluuba, a role he will continue at Microsoft.