Facebook to open new artificial intelligence lab in Montreal

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(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. is opening its first artificial intelligence research lab in Canada and has chosen Montreal to house the project.

This is Facebook’s first research and development investment in Canada and its fourth AI research lab. The company was attracted to Montreal because of the students and professors in surrounding universities, the strong startup culture and favorable government policies, Facebook Chief AI Scientist Yann LeCun said in a statement.

Facebook is investing more than C$7 million ($5.7 million) in Montreal’s AI scene. Uber Technologies Inc. came north in a similar move earlier this year.

Joelle Pineau, a professor at the McGill School of Computer Science, will head the new lab, FAIR Montreal, which will start with 10 researchers and aims to grow to more than 30 researchers in the coming year.

"For many years, I have seen a steady stream of talented AI researchers with Masters and PhDs from our universities move to the U.S. to find the best research jobs," Pineau said. "They will now have an opportunity to do this right here in Montreal."

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