Google reinvests $ 4 million over three years in Mila

Google had already paid $ 4.5 million over three years in 2016. (Photo: 123RF)

Google is renewing its commitment to the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, Mila, with an investment of $ 4 million over three years. Led by Yoshua Bengio, one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence (AI) in the world, the Mila will continue its research on the different applications of AI, especially in the health sector and the fight against COVID -19.

According to Mr. Bengio, “Google’s investment will allow us to do research to push the boundaries of artificial intelligence”.

Google had already paid $ 4.5 million over three years in 2016, which allowed Mila to grow from 25 to 519 searchers.

The director of Google IA in Montreal, Hugo Larochelle, summarizes in two words the reason for this support for Mila: Yoshua Bengio. All over the world, great advances in the field of AI are the direct result of the work of the professor at the University of Montreal and director of MILA, he explains.

“He has embarked on the production of an ecosystem, to create a first-class environment, to support the training of the next generation of researchers and his efforts are bearing fruit,” according to Mr. Larochelle.

AI to fight COVID-19

Mila relies on AI applications that influence everyday life. The Mila team is currently working on LambdaZero, an algorithm that will help scientists find the most effective molecules to make new drugs. This system will help predict which combinations are most likely to work.

At the moment, the process of finding a good cure takes an average of ten years, since there are so many molecules that the possible combinations are almost endless. Scientists under Bengio want to develop a tool that will predict the right combination much faster.

In January, thanks to the LambdaZéro project, they will also begin tests to identify a new drug capable of fighting COVID-19.

Invest for the future

Montreal is continuing its marathon to maintain its place in the leading pack in the global artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem thanks to various investments from the private sector, but also thanks to the financial support of the provincial and federal governments.

As part of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy launched in 2017 by the federal government, $ 125 million has been granted to various research groups. Strategy Director Elissa Strome estimates that 30% of this amount went to Mila.

These investments are necessary not only to attract talented students and researchers, but also to keep them in the country. Competition in this sector is very strong, she recalls, hence the need to create an environment favorable to the development of AI to encourage the next generation.

In just three years, Ms. Strome has seen the face of the industry change. She noted a 50% increase in foreign investment in AI in Canada.

It is an innovative industry that is developing a variety of smart applications that can help reduce healthcare system costs with tools that manage the schedules of patients, employees or operating rooms, he says. -she example.

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