Quebec AI institute Mila opens giant new facility in Montreal

The Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence (Mila) officially opened its new premises in Montreal, with more than 200 partners and other members of the Quebec artificial intelligence ecosystem in attendance. Mila is tasked with implementing the Quebec government’s Strategy for the Development of Quebec’s Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem. The AI institute will receive $80 million over five years from Quebec’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation, as well as $44 million from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) as one of the three lead partners in the development and implementation of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Mila was created as a collaboration between the Université de Montréal and McGill University, with support from HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal. The new 90,000-sq-ft location, situated in Montreal’s Mile-Ex neighbourhood, will house more than 375 Mila members and 125 researchers and experts from partner companies and institutions. The facility also includes corporate labs, start-up spaces, and a technology transfer centre, which will help startups, SMEs and industrial research projects include AI in their innovations. Mila aims to facilitate the conversion of AI research to economic development by concentrating all phases of the innovation process, from student projects through to established companies.

Other important companies in the Montreal AI ecosystem are located in the same building complex, a former textile factory that’s now home to Element AI, Thales, RBC’s Borealis AI, Facebook’s AI lab, and SCALE.AI—the AI supercluster focused on next-gen supply chains—among others.

“Here in Montreal we started research on AI and it has given us a bit of headway, but the rest of the world isn’t waiting. They’re pressing on the gas and investing billions and billions of dollars,” Yoshua Bengio, Mila’s founder and scientific director, told the assembled crowd. “It’s important to think about what we have here and how we build Mila so we can compete in this global environment.”

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