Borealis AI opening Montreal lab with Jackie Cheung as academic advisor

mcgill university

RBC’s Borealis AI is opening an AI lab in Montreal, with McGill University’s Jackie Cheung as academic advisor for the lab.

The news comes less than a month after Borealis AI announced that Washington State University’s Matthew E. Taylor would join the Edmonton-based lab as senior researcher. Cheung, who is an expert in natural language processing, will work closely with the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) led by AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio. Borealis AI expects to open the doors of the Montreal location early in the new year, and hopes to grow its research partnerships with McGill University and the Université de Montréal.

RBC also announced that it will act as a partner of the Creative Destruction Lab in Montreal.

“The MILA is delighted to see a major Canadian business investing in AI research, particularly in long-term difficult questions, and opening a lab in Montreal,” said Bengio. “The collaborations this will bring are not just between MILA and RBC, but also involve other actors in the ecosystem, which is important for the country’s ability to compete internationally. There are plenty of difficult AI research questions of interest to RBC which can have major impact on many sectors of the economy, so this goes well beyond the banking sector.”

RBC established its AI lab at the University of Toronto under the name RBC Research in October 2016 with Nymi co-founder Dr. Foteini Agrafioti as head. A few months later, it established its Edmonton lab with Dr. Richard Sutton as academic advisor.

“Montreal has emerged as a global centre for research in artificial intelligence and I’m excited to be participating in this community,” said Agrafioti, who is also chief science officer of RBC. “We’re committed to helping advance the field through the creation of intellectual property and look forward to providing new opportunities for the enormous talent already doing exceptional research in the region.”

Photo via CBC

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor.