Google Pumps $4 Million into MILA

One of the world’s best-known brands and largest tech companies likes what they see in Montreal’s AI ecosystem. Google today announced it will renew its partnership with Mila, the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, to the tune of $4 million over the next three years.

The Silicon Valley based conglomerate had invested $4.5M US back in 2016, which was crucial to enabling Mila to subsequently grow from 25 to 519 researchers.

Yoshua Bengio, scientific director of Mila, made the announcement today in a post on Google’s official blog. Google’s renewed commitment will enable Mila to continue to push boundaries in the development of innovative approaches to machine learning for AI, and carry on as a leader in the field both in Canada and at the global level.

“COVID-19 has changed the world forever and many industries, from healthcare to retail, will need to adapt to thrive in our ‘new normal.’ As we look to the future and how priorities will shift, it is clear that AI is no longer an emerging technology but a useful tool that can serve to solve world problems. Google Canada recognizes not only this opportunity but the important task at hand and I’m thrilled they have reconfirmed their support of Mila with an additional $3,95 million funding grant until 22.” said the Turing-award recipient. He went on to explain the importance of some of the advance being made:

“Canadian AI innovations are being developed to help visualize climate change and raise social awareness, to power self-driving cars, and to improve healthcare outcomes. One of our biggest COVID-19 projects, LambdaZero, a deep reinforcement learning system, allows for the rapid evaluation of billions of candidate molecules, making it possible to progressively modify the molecular structure by adding or removing building blocks to discover new molecular structures capable of binding to a target protein.”

Google’s renewed commitment will enable Mila to continue to push boundaries in the development of innovative approaches to machine learning for AI and maintain its leadership in the field.

“Canada is home to an interactive and interconnected network of some of the most creative thinkers in artificial intelligence today. Research centres like Mila in Québec are outstanding in their innovative research and pursuit of solutions for challenges in the space of healthcare, science, and technology. For Google, this grant and support for Mila means investing in Canada’s future as a world-leader in AI and investing in curiosity, discovery and growth.’’ added Hugo Larochelle, Head of Google AI Montréal.

In recent years foreign investment in Canadian AI has risen significantly. This additional capital allows research institutions like Mila not only to retain locally developed AI talent, but also to attract it from elsewhere in the world. This is a crucial element in allowing Montreal to compete on the global AI stage, and helps the city to remain a desirable location for these individuals to live, work and play.


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