Artificial intelligence | At the heart of machine learning

Montreal is in the big leagues when it comes to artificial intelligence research, particularly when it comes to machine learning. What does this technique consist of, and what is the state of the ecosystem? Overview.


Last March, a study by Tortoise Media ranked Canada 4the world rank in artificial intelligence (AI), behind China, the United States and the United Kingdom. The ranking notably assessed the quantity of research as well as its quality, as well as other factors such as the total value of public investments.

What about Quebec? Still in this same ranking, the province ranks 7e world rank, ahead of many countries such as France, the Netherlands and Australia.

Artificial intelligence At the heart of machine learning

PHOTO CHARLES WILLIAM PELLETIER, SPECIAL COLLABORATION

Valérie Pisano, President and CEO of Mila

“How did we get here? It all starts with talent,” explains Valérie Pisano, President and CEO of Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute. She notes that when AI and machine learning really started to take off four or five years ago, Quebec already had some of the best researchers in the world. A reality made possible in particular by public and university investments.

Renowned researchers

Today, machine learning continues to be a flourishing field of research in Quebec and in the metropolis. A look at the winners AI 2000 Most Influential Scholarswhich presents the list of the best researchers in the field, confirms this.

Yoshua Bengio, for example, is recognized there as a leader in machine learning alongside Aaron Courville, a professor at the University of Montreal.

The Mila brings together a hundred teachers. Of this group, 30 to 40 have a wide notoriety which gives a powerful magnetism to the ecosystem.

Valérie Pisano, President and CEO of Mila

Legion of apps

Machine learning is a form of AI that allows a system to “learn” to do a task, or to do it better and better, through data analysis.

Machine learning is widely used for the translation or recognition of texts and images. For example, it can be used to generate diagnoses from x-rays and even treatment suggestions.

This technique has many other applications, among others in the field of recommendations.

“It’s the kind of algorithm, on commercial sites, that will determine which products and services to suggest to you to best meet your needs, illustrates Valérie Pisano. Or the kind of algorithm that will suggest a road route based on traffic. »

Transmit knowledge

Alloprof, for example, recently worked on a project in collaboration with the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO), a Montreal center for research, training and transfer of expertise specializing in big data.

The project consisted of developing a recommendation engine that automatically offers explanations related to the questions asked by students.

“From very large companies to smaller organizations like Alloprof that help students in difficulty, we want to help organizations adopt artificial intelligence,” explains Luc Vinet, general manager of IVADO.

“Because data, coupled with deep learning algorithms, is very useful for decision-making. »

A pillar of AI

IVADO, created in 2016, is an important pillar of AI in Montreal.

“We are sort of facilitators, we put the industry in contact with machine learning and operational research,” sums up Luc Vinet. We bring together all the forces, all the players in the field, to help companies discover the potential of AI and data. »

Since its founding, the IVADO has awarded $41 million in research support through scholarships and grants. In total, the Institute has thus granted a total of 522 scholarships, including 120 between 2021 and 2022.

In terms of its technology transfer mission, IVADO launched 114 new collaborative research projects involving 58 non-profit organizations, start-ups and SMEs. In total, 548 such projects have been undertaken since 2017.

“We are instigators, says Luc Vinet. And we will continue to be at the forefront to orchestrate the major players in the field so that we can all together derive maximum benefits from artificial intelligence. »

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Artificial intelligence | At the heart of machine learning


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