Montréal: The new “Silicon Island”?



Did you know that Montréal is one of the most important cities in the world for work in the field of artificial intelligence? Researchers believe that AI is bound to be a central part of our future civilizations.

You probably already know about some of Montréal’s most iconic contributions to new technologies and digital creations, including:


MUTEK, an international festival dedicated to highlighting and developing emergent forms of digital creation (with its 19th edition taking place this August 22-26);

The Phi Centre, an exhibition space that addresses highly contemporary themes through the use of recent and immersive technologies (don’t miss the Particles of Existence exhibition from March 27 to August 12, 2018);


And let’s not forget the 11 academic institutions based in Montréal, from HEC and the Polytechnique to the Université de Montréal, the Université du Québec à Montréal, Concordia University and of course McGill University, which together comprise Canada’s largest university research cluster with a large number of researchers and some 200,000 students!


But what’s really earned Montréal its place in the international Artificial Intelligence community is one man, one of three leading pioneers in the world: Yoshua Bengio. As the founder of Element AI, a professor at the Université de Montréal, director of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), scientific director at IVADO, and program co-director at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Yoshua Bengio has convinced Google and Microsoft to invest millions of dollars in Montréal. Facebook has even decided to set up an Artificial Intelligence research lab here.


Yoshua Bengio is also the ambassador for the new Technopolys* initiative, an ambitious 2-year brand strategy that has been underway since 2017, and managed by Québec businesses, universities and associations to raise awareness throughout Québec of the strength and importance of the technology sector.


One exciting current development is the new O Mile Ex, a centre of excellence in Artificial Intelligence. With 400,000 square feet of floor space, this lovely urban centre provides office space for a number of tenants, including Element AI, MILA and IVADO, along with the Artificial Intelligence division of a large bank, the Thales research centre, and video game development companies. It’s expected to open its doors by the end of 2018.



* Technopolys is a combination of the French words “Technopole” (technology hub) and “lys”, the iconic fleur-de-lys that is the symbol of Québec.

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