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Thales picks Montréal for new artificial intelligence global hub

October 11, 2017

Thales, a leading international technological solutions company servicing the aerospace, transportation, and defence markets, picks Greater Montréal for its new artificial intelligence global hub, with the creation of the Centre of Research and Technology in Artificial Intelligence eXpertise (cortAIx). This new initiative, which will require $25 million in investments from the French multinational, should create 50 high-value-added jobs consisting mainly of researchers and developers specializing in AI.

“Thales is a world-leader in 56 countries, including here in Montréal, where the AI revolution is being shaped,” said Hubert Bolduc, President and CEO of Montréal International. “Home to over 250 leading researchers and a one-of-a-kind collaborative ecosystem, Greater Montréal has become one of the world’s most attractive AI hubs in less than two years. Last year, an impressive 20% of the investments we facilitated were in the AI sector and the 2017 results are already exceeding our expectations.”

The new centre’s mission will be to advance the safe and ethical application of artificial intelligence across Thales’ vast product portfolio. Its researchers will focus on creating solutions to help airlines, satellite operators, air traffic controllers, mainline and light rail operators, armed forces and critical infrastructure managers make the best decisions at crucial moments.

The Montréal team will work in close collaboration with MILA (Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms), IVADO (Institute of Data Valorization), Vector Institute of Toronto, and Digital Factory, another Thales’ centre specializing in AI that will be launched in Paris in 2018.

“The combined expertise of MILA, IVADO and the rich ecosystem of AI universities and laboratories create the perfect confluence in Montréal and Canada to develop cortAIx,” said Patrice Caine, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Thales. “With Thales’ leadership and the support of our partners, we will leverage Montréal’s unique ecosystem of world-class talent and creativity to advance the application of ethical artificial intelligence world-wide.”

cortAlx, which is located on Saint-Urbain Street in the Mile-Ex neighbourhood, is expected to begin operations as of this coming January.

In the past few weeks, several key players have joined Montréal’s AI ecosystem, specifically Microsoft, Facebook, Samsung and, more recently, Google’s DeepMind. To learn more about the AI industry, please refer to the industry profile: Greater Montréal: an artificial intelligence hub.