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March 9, 2018 10:38 am Published by

Is Canada the new Silicon Valley when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and innovation?

Canada is on track to be one of the world leaders in this up and coming industry. In recent years, Canada has become a hotspot for AI. The Canadian AI industry is starting to show its teeth globally with its Canadian start-ups and large companies’ performances. Large organizations like Google, as well as, the Canadian government, have begun to heavily invest in AI, making Canada an excellent environment for AI research and innovation.

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In the spring of 2017, the government of Canada had publicized that $125 million would be put into funding AI research and innovation. The $125 million in funding would go towards a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The money will be used to fund; AI institutions, Canada CIFAR Chairs in AI Program, AI in Society Program, and the National AI Program.

The Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy will be led by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research or (CIFAR). AI institutions will be receiving part of the $125 million in funding. The program has chosen to allocate part of those funds to three major cities across Canada including Toronto-Waterloo, Montreal, and Edmonton; all centers for deep learning and innovation. All this funding will help prepare Canadians and Canadian business to have the necessary skills and resources to be a global leader in AI.

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The National AI Program is a strategy designed to support and run national activities such as organizing annual AI meetings with the goal of ensuring Canada is and will be well positioned for AI leadership. Increased funding in AI will also hopefully bring economic growth to the Canadian economy as well as help improve Canadian lives.

Canadian Universities have also begun creating new classes and programs on AI. Since the field of AI is still in its early stages and is on the brink of becoming “mainstream” there has been a surge in new programs being offered in Universities across Canada. The University of Edmonton and the University of Manitoba are offering courses related to AI with many more to presumably follow. In 2016, the Canada First Research Excellence fund committed $93.6 million to three Universities in the Montreal area. HEC Montréal, Université de Montréal, and Polytechnique Montréal will use the $93.6million in funding research towards AI and deep learning.

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Tech giants like Google have also recognized that Canada is an excellent environment for AI research and innovation. Which has led them in funding and investing into AI in Canada. Google helped fund the Vector Institute in Toronto with a $5 million dollar investment. Google has also been involved with Montreal’s MILA Institute as they have invested $4.5 million. Google will also be researching AI in Canada as they have launched Google Brain in Toronto. Canadian AI culture is slowly developing across the nation, with it comes new small to medium-sized business. rel8ed.to is a small business located in St. Catharines, Ontario. Combining North America’s largest repository of business data with proprietary algorithms rel8ed.to showcases links between businesses, owners, suppliers, and competitors. The unique combination and use of Clean Open Data, new technologies, and creative analytics energizes business opportunities. rel8ed.to is also involved in the academic community. By working with local schools and universities, rel8ed.to is a community partner that works and inspires students to become engaged and get involved with AI, Big Open Data, and creative analytics.

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What can we expect in the future? Canada is currently positioning itself for sustained global leadership in AI research and innovation. Big tech giants and the government have given the industry a big boost in confidence with all of their program initiatives and from funding and investment. This massive investment will bring new tangible results to Canadian society. By increasing collaboration among AI institutes and organizations and with the increase emphasis on research, Canada will help bring new AI advancements to our global society.

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This post was written by George Alimisis

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