News

Microsoft donates 7M$ for research at MILA – 18 January 2017
Microsoft announced a donation of 7 million $ to support research at MILA. The funds will be distributed over five years, with 6 M$ going to Université de Montréal and 1 M$ going to McGill researcher. They also announced their plan to double the size of the Montreal research team at Maluuba, which Microsoft recently acquired, with a focus on natural language processing.
Microsoft blog announcement
Fortune article
UdeM announcement (Fr)

Google expands support for MILA and opens deep learning research center in Montreal – 21 November 2016
Big news for Montreal!

Google will expand its academic support to deep learning at U. Montreal’s MILA (core to IVADO AI-OR hub), offering Focused Research Awards to 7 MILA faculty at U. Montreal and at neighbour McGill U.: Pascal Vincent, Aaron Courville, Christopher Pal, Doina Precup, Joelle Pineau, Simon Lacoste-Julien, Laurent Charlin. Furthermore, Google will renew Yoshua Bengio’s Focused Research Award. All these awards taken together, for a period of 3 years, bring Google’s donation to MILA (bridging U. Montreal, Polytechnique Montreal, HEC Montreal and McGill U.) to 3.375M$US, i.e., about 4.5 M$C or 1.5M$C per year.

In addition, Google has decided to open a deep learning & AI research group here in Montreal, linked to its Google Brain group in Mountain View, California. This group will be led by Hugo Larochelle, a forerunner of the deep learning community and a PhD graduate from Yoshua Bengio’s lab at U. Montreal. This is a great example of reverse brain-drain, since Hugo will be coming back from the US to Montreal.

Montreal’s top universities together now count more than 150 researchers (including students) in deep learning, the greatest academic concentration in the world. In collaboration with their academic partners such as Google, and with incubators and start-up factories such as the recently announced Element AI, the MILA and the IVADO hub are contributing keystone AI expertise to Montreal’s bustling big data ecosystem, empowering the community both scientifically and strategically to foster technological innovation based on AI.
Google blog announcement
CBC article
WIRED article

IVADO sponsors 11th Monte Carlo Methods conference – 17 November 2016
IVADO is sponsoring the 11th Conference on Monte-Carlo Methods and Applications organized by the Université de Montréal’s Mathematical Research Center (CRM), which will be held at HEC Montréal from July 3 to July 7 2017.

MILA selected to compete in Amazon Alexa prize – 17 November 2016
A team at MILA has been selected as one of 12 sponsored participants in the Amazon Alexa chatbot challenge. The goal is to build a socialbot that can converse engagingly and coherently for 20 minutes. They will receive a stipend of 100 000 US$ to compete for the grand prize of up to 1.5M US$ which will be awarded in November 2017. The MILA team was selected among 100 applications from 22 countries, and is the only sponsored Canadian team in the competition.
Alexa Prize website
Global News Article

Element AI launch – 25 October 2016
The Element AI start-up factory has officially launched. They will collaborate with IVADO to encourage the creation of spin-off companies based on AI research in Montreal.
WIRED article

CFREF grant to IVADO – 6 september 2016
The Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) has announced a grant of 93.6 M$ to Université de Montréal (with Polytechnique and HEC) for a project on deep learning and data science optimisation spearheaded by IVADO, with Yoshua Bengio as scientific director.
Article in the Montreal Gazette
Official announcement