Montreal, location of Facebook's newest AI lab. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Facebook Drawn to Thriving Machine Learning/AI Community in City

With its high density of AI businesses and research organizations as well as a bustling university scene, Montreal is among the top global cities for AI research and development, a fact not lost on Facebook which announced its aims to open an AI laboratory in the city. The Montreal Gazette reports.

Facebook has opened an artificial intelligence research lab in Montreal, the company said on Friday.

The lab will be headed by Joëlle Pineau, a McGill University professor.

This will be Facebook’s fourth artificial intelligence research lab, after Menlo Park, Calif.; New York; and Paris. This is the first time Facebook has invested in artificial intelligence research in Canada, it said. Facebook’s AI research labs employ around 110 scientists and engineers.

The lab, which has opened, is expected to employ 10 researchers by the end of the month, and the company said it plans to grow that number to 30 people within a year. The company said it eventually plans to invest more than $7 million in the lab.

Yann LeCun, Facebook’s chief AI scientist, said the company was attracted to Montreal by the city’s strong talent pool in artificial intelligence.

Pineau will keep her post at the university, splitting her time between the two.

Her past research includes work on artificial intelligence programs that can converse with people and the development of an intelligent wheelchair.

She said she was drawn to Facebook because of its open approach to AI research.

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