The next time you pull out your smartphone and ask Siri or Google for advice, or chat with a bot online, take pride in knowing that some of the theoretical foundation for that technology was brought to life here in Canada. Indeed, as far back as the early 1980s, key organizations such as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research embarked on groundbreaking work in neural networks and machine learning. Academic pioneers such as Geoffrey Hinton (now a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and an advisor to Google, among others), the University of Montreal's Yoshua Bengio and the University of Alberta's Rich Sutton produced critical research that helped fuel Canada's rise to prominence as a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI). Stephen Piron, co-CEO of Dessa, praises the federal government's efforts at cutting immigration processing timelines for highly skilled foreign workers. Canada now houses three major AI clusters – in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton – that form the backbone of the country's machine-learning ecosystem and support homegrown AI startups.
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The first genuinely impressive AI assistant may well have a Canadian accent. Facebook announced today that it is tapping into Canada's impressive supply of artificial-intelligence talent and expertise by creating a major AI research center in Montreal. Several big recent advances in AI can be traced back to Canadian research labs, and Facebook is hoping that the new lab may help it take advantage of whatever comes next. The new center will focus, in particular, on an area of AI known as reinforcement learning (see "10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017: Reinforcement Learning"). The center will seek to apply this and other novel approaches to language, with the aim of producing more coherent and useful virtual assistants, says Yann LeCun, director of AI research at Facebook.
Piotr Gmytrasiewicz (cochair), University of Illinois at Chicago Simon Parsons, University of Liverpool Cristina Biccheri, Carnegie Mellon University Craig Boutilier, University of Toronto Jon Doyle, North Carolina State University Amy Greenwald, Brown University Jeff Kephart, IBM Institute for Advanced Research Sarit Kraus, Bar-Ilan University Ronald Parr, Duke University Richard E. Stearns, University of Albany Wynn Stirling, Brigham Young University Gerald Tesauro, IBM Watson Research Center Leon van der Torre, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Russell Vane, Litton PRC Michael Wooldridge, University of Liverpool Shlomo Zilberstein, University of Massachusetts This AAAI-02 Workshop was held July 28, 2002, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Contents