A year of farsighted innovations

January 12, 2017, 2:44pm

The year 2016 ended on a very positive note for the major Campus Montréal campaign, and I am pleased to describe below a few of the research and innovation projects that will have a lasting impact on Montreal.

These projects, driven by a multidisciplinary approach, collaboration among universities and communities, and above all philanthropic investments, are of a scope that is of particular importance to us.

IVADO: generating benefits for all

Last summer, the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO) was awarded a major grant of $93.5 million from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. It also received substantial funding from such high-profile partners as Google, which gave $4 million to MILA, the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, led by Yoshua Bengio. Google has also established a deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) research group headed by Hugo Larochelle, who left Twitter to return to Montreal.

In January, IVADO began welcoming 22 interns from 13 countries through the first, highly prestigious IVADO Postdoctoral Fellowships.

A number of head offices are also moving to Montreal, where jobs are being created and with them opportunities for graduates, along with new economic benefits. The academic critical mass is increasing, businesses are being launched, and all of society is benefiting.

Montreal: a world leader in artificial intelligence

Much of this has been made possible thanks to IVADO, which is at the heart of the artificial intelligence ecosystem taking shape in Montreal. To generate innovation, silos must come down. IVADO ensures a link between academic expertise and the needs of businesses, be they multinationals, innovative start-ups or community and public organizations. It promotes the transfer of knowledge and collaborates with the most talented specialists, partners, researchers and students, while training the next generation of data scientists.

Campus MIL: a new complex for all of society

In late 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Philippe Couillard announced their financial support for the construction of the new Complexe des sciences on Université de Montréal’s Campus MIL. As part of the federal-provincial Strategic Investment Fund, the governments of Quebec and Canada are investing $145 million and $84.23 million respectively.

Campus MIL, the brand new complex being developed, will see the academic community share space with workers, residents, merchants and visitors. A bridge over the rail line will link the new development with the Acadie metro station. The Campus will also welcome other establishments, a digital innovation centre, and a science-oriented a primary school. Links are already being forged with the community, which has, for example, proposed temporary projects and “Catalyseurs d’Imaginaires Urbains” (urban imagination catalysts). The following video, which is primarily in French, provides an overview of the project.

A legacy for future generations

These initiatives mean a great deal to me, not only because of their impact on Montreal, but also because they will leave a legacy for future generations. We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution – that of artificial intelligence – where computers are enhancing the cognitive power of humans.

With IVADO, Montreal is developing into the world’s AI hub. Upcoming generations will receive the best education in the data sciences. We’ll no longer talk about a brain drain but rather of great minds returning and indeed being drawn to Montreal. Within the ecosystem, they will contribute to the decisions that will govern the use of AI.

With Campus MIL, we’ll also be gaining one of the largest innovation centres in the country.

The flagship projects of Campus Montréal, such as IVADO and Campus MIL, are enabling us to create a living environment where future generations will be able to achieve their full potential, where great ideas will become great innovations, and where we will find solutions to complex problems.

During this, the year of Montreal’s 375th birthday, the major Campus Montréal campaign is clearly contributing to the celebrations by setting the stage for a highly promising future.

Happy New Year!

Post a comment

0 of 1000 characters