Microsoft Makes AI Moves in Montreal

By Alicia Young January 19, 2017

Anyone looking to move to Canada after January 20 may want to take a look at Montreal.  Yes, it has beautiful scenery, a lot to do, and is populated by our friendly Canadian neighbors, but it’s also quickly becoming one of the biggest AI powerhouses in the world. This evolution is largely thanks to Microsoft and the many investments it’s made recently in Montreal’s AI future.

 Early in January, Microsoft acquired Canadian startup Maluuba, which focuses on general artificial intelligence, and is moving it to Montreal. According to a recent article, “Maluuba focuses on natural language processing, in service of pursuing general artificial intelligence, or building computers that can think like people.” It does this through deep learning and reinforcement learning with the hopes of increasing the proficiency and effectiveness of computer-based systems. The goal is to eventually have AI answer questions, make decisions, understand natural language and so on, just like a human would.

Now, Microsoft is investing even further in Montreal’s AI future. The tech giant announced on Wednesday that it will be expanding its research and design office in Montreal; it hopes to double the size of the office over the next two years. According to another post, Microsoft will also be investing in Montreal’s academic community by giving $6 million in funding “gifts” to the University of Montreal. Additionally, Microsoft will also donate $1 million to McGill University’s research efforts, which is to be used over the next five years.

Microsoft has chosen to make such investments in these universities because The University of Montreal is home to the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, which is headed by a major name in the AI community: Yoshua Bengio. These investments are also a small piece of a much bigger AI puzzle being put together in Montreal. Other companies, such as Google, have also started building AI labs and investing in the city.

With so many AI assistants on the map, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri, it’ll be hard for other companies who haven’t entirely hopped on board yet to catch up. Microsoft’s Cortana is an added asset to Windows users, but will these new investments in Montreal take Cortana to the next level? Or will Microsoft soon put out a new AI all together? We’ll just have to wait and see…

If the future of AI is something you’re interested in learning more about, make sure to check out ITEXPO, the business technology event being  held Feb. 8-10 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Conference panels will feature several sessions centered on AI, including “How AI is Changing the Customer Experience” and “Why AI Makes Your Wi-Fi Smarter.” 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Mist Applies AI to Improve Wi-Fi

By: Paula Bernier    11/9/2017

Mist has created an AI-driven wireless platform that puts the user and his or mobile device at the heart of the wireless network. Combining machine le…

Read More

International Tech Innovation Growing, Says Consumer Technology Association

By: Doug Mohney    11/8/2017

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is best known for the world's largest trade event, but the organization's reach is growing far beyond the CE…

Read More

Broadcom Makes Unsolicited $130B Bid for Qualcomm

By: Paula Bernier    11/6/2017

In what could result in the biggest tech deal in history, semiconductor company Broadcom has made an offer to buy Qualcomm for a whopping $130 billion…

Read More

How Google's 'Moonshot' Could Benefit Industrial Markets

By: Kayla Matthews    10/30/2017

The term "moonshot" encapsulates the spirit of technological achievement: an accomplishment so ambitious, so improbable, that it's equivalent to sendi…

Read More

After Cisco/Broadsoft, Who's Next for M&A?

By: Doug Mohney    10/27/2017

Cisco's trail of acquisition tears over the decades includes the Flip video camera, Cerent, Scientific Atlantic, Linksys, and a couple of others. The …

Read More