Just days after buying Maluuba – a deep learning and artificial intelligence Canadian startup – Microsoft has revealed that it will be doubling the size of the company’s Montreal office within two years.
Once the expansion is complete, the Montreal lab of the company will house as many as 80 engineers working in the field of deep learning. Microsoft added that it will be sourcing the local talent to fill the vacancies that will crop up due to expansion plans. The announcement about the expansion of the Montreal office was made by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Economic Minister Dominique Anglade, federal Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Microsoft president Brad Smith at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
Maluuba, which was founded in 2011 by two Waterloo graduates, carved out a niche for itself by developing technology that allows machines to communicate interactively. The work done by Malubba till date is in line with Microsoft’s vision, the company revealed while announcing the acquisition last week. Smith said at the WEF that Microsoft’s decision to expand is because of the fact that Montreal is increasingly becoming a leader in the field of artificial intelligence, a subject that has been widely discussed at the World Economic Forum.
“Microsoft is excited to engage with faculties, students and the broader tech community in Montreal, which is becoming a global hub for AI research and innovation,” Microsoft president Brad Smith said at Davos, according to a blog post from Janet Kennedy, president of Microsoft Canada.
In the next five years, Microsoft has committed $6 million to the Université de Montréal and $1 million to McGill University, which includes about 150 researchers. According to Couillard, this commitment demonstrates that Quebec has not only been recognized for its hydroelectricity and its natural resources, but also for its skilled workforce.
Microsoft will now compete with Google on Montreal ground. Google announced in November that it wants to establish a new centre for deep learning in Montreal.