A few days ago, Microsoft acquired research-oriented deep learning start-up Maluuba based in Montreal as part of it’s plans to make inroads into the AI space. Now the company has announced plans to pour $7 million into Montreal’s academic institutions that have been churning out innovative start-ups of late. The company also stated, at the Davos Economic Forum, that it will double the size and capacity of their AI and R&D office based in Montreal.
The company is dedicating $6 million to the University of Montreal, and $1 million for McGill’s research efforts, to be released over the period of next five years.
Yoshua Bengio, an advisor to Maluuba and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, had taken the role of advising Microsoft and interacting directly with Harry Shum, executive VP of Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Group post acquisition.
Microsoft had asserted it would update the public about it’s research with Maluuba as and when positive developments take place.
Montreal is not new to attention and funds from global tech biggies. Last year, Google had jumped in and invested $4.5 million over three years to support the institute’s research, as well as opening an AI research group at its Montreal office. This was preceded by the the Canadian government announcing an investment of more than $200 million in three Montreal universities “create a learning hub to explore artificial intelligence and big data.”
AI pioneer Bengio is known for his work in deep learning and neural networks, subsets of artificial intelligence in which software mimics the activities of the neurons in the human brain. A neural network would thus be capable of human-like thought without necessarily relying on human programmers. In October last year, he had launched a Silicon Valley-style startup incubator dedicated to AI firms, chiefly to bank on the extensive research performed at the Montreal institutes.