Montreal to host two upcoming artificial intelligence conferences at Palais des congrès


After all the recent announcements of major tech players opening artificial intelligence (AI) labs in Montreal, it should come as no surprise that the city has been selected to host two upcoming AI conferences at the Palais des congrès.

The 30th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) will be coming in 2021 and attract nearly 3,000 experts from all over the world. That means a total of nearly 8,400 room nights booked in Montréal hotels and over $4.5 million in tourism revenue for Québec.

Montreal won the bid for the international convention during the 2017 edition of the event in Melbourne last August. Thanks in large part to the support of Joëlle Pineau and Doina Precup, both professors of computer science at McGill, the bid was coordinated by Marie-France Polidori of the Palais de congrès de Montréal business development team. Pineau was recently tapped to head up Facebook’s new AI lab in Montreal, while Precup will head DeepMind’s newly announced lab.

The organizing committee consisted of representatives from Université du Québec à Montréal, McGill University – including Professor Gregory Dudek, a member of the Ambassadors Club – Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Polytechnique, Concordia University, and funding from Tourisme Montréal.

The second conference is a newly created one. The Université de Montréal, Fonds de recherche du Québec and Palais des congrès de Montréal have joined forces to create the new Forum on the Socially Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence, which will take place November 2 and 3 at the Palais. The Forum will bring together experts from all fields, ranging from the pure sciences, to the humanities, to the social sciences, to stimulate a discussion on the ethical and socially responsible development of AI.

Notably, the forum will serve as the backdrop for the drafting of the guiding principles of the Montréal Declaration on the Ethical Development of AI.

Keynote speakers will inclue Yoshua Bengio, Joëlle Pineau, Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, Hugo Larochelle, Google Brain Researcherand Bryn Williams-Jones, Director of the Bioethics Program at the Université de Montréal School of Public Health.

“Montréal hosts more international events than any other city in North America, and artificial intelligence features in numerous major conventions focused on the future. We have the privilege of hosting these world experts and playing an active role in bringing them together in the heart of our city, which will translate into significant intellectual benefits for the city and the province,” said Raymond Larivée, President and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Larivée is referring to the rankings released by the International Congress and Convention Association, which named Montreal as the city to host the most international events in North America. Palais des congrès was also shortlisted for the World’s Best Congress Centre award (AIPC) and the recipient of the highest quality standards certification in the industry.

The announcement of the two conferences helps to cement Montreal’s place as both a centre for AI innovation and a city with international positioning.


Photo: Palais des congrès website

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