Google launches new AI research group in Montreal

Montreal has become a "global machine intelligence powerhouse", Google says, thanks to corporate and government investments.

As Google continues to invest in artificial intelligence, it's looking to Canada to gain more expertise in the field.

The company is opening a research group in its Montreal office that will be focused on deep learning and AI research, Shibl Mourad, the head of engineering at Google Montreal, announced in a blog post. The new research group will be linked to the Google Brain team based in Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, and it will be led by Hugo Larochelle, a leader within the deep learning community.

Meanwhile, Google is funding a new grant for the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), which will fund seven faculty from different Montreal institutions over three years. The grant builds on support Google already provides for deep learning research at MILA, bringing its total support for the organization to $4.5 million ($3.375 million USD). The new funding, along with offering research awards to MILA faculty at the University of Montreal and McGill University, includes a renewal of Google's Focused Research Award to Yoshua Bengio, the head of MILA.

In his blog post, Mourad noted that Montreal has become a "global machine intelligence powerhouse", thanks to a combination of corporate investment, a growing AI startup community, and substantial government funding. Combined, the University of Montreal and McGill have more than 150 researchers (including students) working on deep learning -- the greatest academic concentration in the world.

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