While news of the non-profit Vector Institute’s launch was published earlier this week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and the Institute’s Chief Science Advisor Geoff Hinton were among several key industry players officially announcing the Institute’s unveiling.
Housed in MaRS in Toronto, the Institute will support research and commercialization of AI technologies. The Institute, which aims to become a world-leading centre of AI, has ambitious goals: to graduate the most deep learning and machine-learning PhDs and masters students globally, and be the engine for the federal government’s AI supercluster. The government is dedicating $125 million to its AI strategy, and between $40 million to $50 million to the Vector Institute.
Ontario is investing $50 million in the Institute, while 30 private companies are investing a total of $80 million over the next ten years.
“The Vector Institute is an unprecedented answer to an unprecedented opportunity and represents an exceptional partnership between independent researchers, academic institutions, government, private industry and entrepreneurs,” said Ed Clark, Chair of the Vector Institute Board of Directors. “The Vector Institute will confirm Canada’s world-leading position in the field of deep learning artificial intelligence. Consequently, it will spur economic growth in Canada by attracting talent and investment, supporting scale-up firms and enabling established firms to be best-in-class adopters of artificial intelligence.”
The Vector Institute expects to grow to 400 researchers, faculty, students, engineers, and will work closely with AI hubs like Next AI and U of T’s Creative Destruction Lab.
“The opportunities for new discoveries in the field of deep learning are very exciting, and the applications are endless,” said Hinton. “Now is the time for us to lead the research and shape the future of this field, putting neural network technologies to work in ways that will improve health care, strengthen our economy and unlock new fields of scientific advancement. And with the Vector Institute collaborating with institutes in Montreal and Edmonton we can do that here in Canada.”
The Institute’s board of directors includes:
The Institute put out a full list of sponsors and dollar commitments, which include familiar names in the startup community like Shopify, Thalmic Labs, and Clearpath Robotics.