CIFAR adds 34 new AI chairs, bringing headcount to 80


The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) has added 34 new AI chairs, bringing the total number of chairs to 80. Its last announced headcount was 46 in April.

Part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, the CIFAR AI Chair program aims to provide researchers with long-term, dedicated funding to support training and research in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The 34 newly-named chairs specialize in a variety of areas under the umbrella of AI/ML, including ethical AI, healthtech, natural language processing, robotics, and computer vision technologies.

“The Canada CIFAR AI Chairs announced today bring diverse perspectives and expertise.”

“Congratulations to the outstanding researchers who are joining the prestigious Canada CIFAR AI Chairs program,” said Alan Bernstein, CIFAR’s president and CEO. “Canada and CIFAR have a strong history in supporting AI research and talent, and this program will solidify our position as global leaders in AI.”

CIFAR works with three national AI Institutes in nominating potential chairs: Edmonton-based Alberta Institute for Machine Intelligence (Amii), the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (Mila), and the Toronto-based Vector Institute. Applications are reviewed by the International Scientific Advisory Committee, which is made up of a group of international researchers.

The researchers in this latest group are based at École Polytechnique de Montréal, Google Brain, McGill University, Microsoft Research, Université Laval, Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, University of Alberta, University of Toronto, and the University of Waterloo.

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Amii recruited five computing science experts, from the University of Alberta as well as DeepMind, Google’s AI research office in Edmonton. Mila recruited 19 experts working in a variety of departments, such as computer engineering, philosophy, mathematics, and linguistics. The Vector Institute recruited 10 experts from the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo.

In the 2017 budget, the federal government committed $125 million to the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, which CIFAR is responsible for executing. The strategy’s goals are to increase the number of AI researchers and graduates in Canada, develop global thought leadership on the economic, ethical, policy and legal implications of AI, and support the nation’s AI research community. A total of $86.5 million over five years has been allocated for CIFAR’s AI chairs program.

“AI has the potential to deliver enormous positive social, economic and environmental benefits,” said Elissa Strome, executive director of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy at CIFAR. “The Canada CIFAR AI Chairs announced today bring diverse perspectives and expertise. Their research will advance AI technologies that are innovative, responsible, equitable and beneficial to society.”

Image courtesy CIFAR via Facebook. Photo by Ben Welland.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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