Google opens new AI lab and invests $3.4M in Montreal-based AI research

Google has invested a total of $4.5 million CAD ($3.4M US) in AI research in Montreal’s Institute for Learning Algorithms, with an academic fund covering three years that will help pay for seven faculty members across various Montreal academic institutions, including the University of Montreal and McGill. The investment is also continued backing for deep learning expert Yoshua Bengio’s work, and is part of Google’s continued bet on Canada’s strong expertise in machine learning and AI research, both of which are becoming increasingly important to its core business.

To that end, along with the investment, Google is also opening a brand new deep learning and AI research group in Montreal at its existing office in the city. The new team will be a remote arm of its Google Brain team based in Mountain View, and will be led locally by Hugo Larochelle, a deep learning expert who’s returning home to Montreal from a role with Twitter in Boston specifically for the new position.

Google notes that its total investment in academic research in Canada to date now amounts to around $13 million Canadian over the past 10 years, and it hopes that the new investment will help with the ongoing formation of an AI supercluster in Montreal, which is becoming a hotbed for AI startups as well as academic research. Google also has significant presence in Canada via a Waterloo engineering office, and works with AI expert and University of Toronto CS professor Geoffrey Hinton on a lot of its deep learning research.