The American social network giant will set up an artificial intelligence (AI) research lab in Montréal, its first in Canada and its fourth in the world, after New York, Paris and Menlo Park, California. Facebook will also invest $7 million to support AI research in Montréal through partnerships with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA).
“We picked Montréal because of its existing ecosystem and because we want to contribute to the snowball effect that started there with Université de Montréal, McGill University, MILA, innovative businesses and investments by other technology businesses,” indicated Facebook Director of AI Research Mike Schroepfer.
Montréal’s Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab will develop new AI algorithms to be used by Facebook. Its research will help improve the effectiveness of virtual assistants by better understanding online dialogue mechanisms.
Directed by Joëlle Pineau, one of the AI luminaries who co-directed the Reasoning and Learning Lab at McGill University, the facility is expected to employ some 30 researchers by 2018. They will join the roughly 110 other AI researchers currently working for Facebook.