United Kingdom (UK)-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm DeepMind Technologies, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, is consolidating its offices in Canada and shutting down its Edmonton site.
A spokesperson for DeepMind confirmed the move, which was first reported by Bloomberg. In a statement shared with BetaKit, DeepMind’s spokesperson said that it will be maintaining its other Canadian locations in Montréal and Toronto. DeepMind did not confirm when the closure of the Edmonton office and the layoffs would take place.
The spokesperson said that its Edmonton-based researchers have been offered the option to relocate to other DeepMind offices.
Founded in 2010, DeepMind is a research laboratory that develops general-purpose AI technology. In 2014, Google acquired DeepMind in a deal reportedly worth more than $500 million to expand its roster of AI experts. Currently, DeepMind’s LinkedIn page notes it has 18 employees in Edmonton, and 50 in Canada overall.
In collaboration with the University of Alberta, DeepMind established its Edmonton office in 2017, representing its first office outside of the UK. DeepMind has several ties to the University of Alberta, including DeepMind’s sponsorship of the university’s machine learning lab to provide additional funding for PhDs. DeepMind opened an office in Montréal in that same year, working with McGill University.
DeepMind’s Edmonton base was the only international site it directly managed, as the rest of its locations are in Google-managed offices, according to DeepMind’s spokesperson.
DeepMind’s closure of its Edmonton office follows the broader layoffs that happened across Google last week, which impacted around 12,000 people. Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai attributed the cuts to “periods of dramatic growth” over the past two years in which the corporation “hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.”