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  #2981  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 10:46 PM
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How Montreal became the world’s leading AI and deep learning hub


May 9, 2017 | Written by: Tracey Lindeman

The artificial intelligence industry is projected to be worth $36 billion by 2025. And the Canadian city of Montreal has somehow found itself in the middle of it. Earlier this year, Microsoft acquired a natural-language-processing startup by the name of Maluuba and simultaneously contributed $7 million to the AI labs at McGill University and University of Montreal. Maluuba had garnered much attention — and, most recently, $9 million in investment — for its deep and reinforcement learning research centre, established at the tail end of 2015 and advised by computer scientist Yoshua Bengio. Microsoft also announced that it would double the size of its Montreal AI research group from 40 to 80 people.

Prior to Microsoft’s announcement, Google — which already has an office in Montreal — made inroads of its own. In November of 2016, the technology company simultaneously announced that a group of seven Montreal researchers had won its Focused Research Award and that it was giving another $3.33 million over three years to the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), an inter-university lab led by McGill University and the University of Montreal and headed by Yoshua Bengio. As Wired reported in November, ”This isn’t the first time the company has funneled money into the program. Over the past [10] years, Google had donated about $13 million CAD to academic research in the country and about half was earmarked for AI research.”
Just two months before Google’s announcement came one from the Canadian government. It would invest CAD$213 million into four Montreal academic institutions — McGill, University of Montreal, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal (the latter two of which are affiliated with the University of Montreal). As the Montreal Gazette city newspaper reported, some of the money will go to creating an AI and big-data lab called IVADO. Yoshua Bengio told the Gazette that the money would help create “a mini Silicon Valley in Montreal.”

(...)

Montreal has four major public universities on the island alone (Concordia, McGill, University of Montreal, University of Quebec at Montreal, which collectively boast more than 160,000 enrollees), as well as a number of private and public academic institutions in the greater Montreal region. This year, Montreal was named the top city in the world for students. The honor was mostly predicated on Montreal’s affordability, desirability and people’s positive feelings about having studied there. And, according to Montreal AI lab IVADO, there are more than 150 deep-learning researchers at Montreal’s universities — the “biggest concentration in the worl

Quebec as a province also has some of the lowest tuition in North America, and some of the lowest rents in Canada thanks largely to rent control. The city also has a large and vibrant cultural scene and a legacy of creativity, and Montreal’s bilingual nature makes it feel more European than North American. And finally, technology businesses in Quebec and Canada benefit from a variety of extremely generous tax credits and grants, which helps explain why so many technology companies start or move here, and why so many foreign investors are now speculating here. (In 2015, Quebec’s tech sector accounted for 6.4 percent of jobs in the province — the highest rate in all of Canada. California’s rate, by comparison, is 8.2 percent.) “People know about Canadian tax credits. Americans know their money will go further because Canada invests in tech,” says Prodromou of Fuzzy AI.

All of these factors have conspired to create a city that is cheap to live in and inspiring to create in. As Prodromou says, if you’re young and cool you want to spend a few years in Montreal.
Replicating Montreal’s momentum elsewhere would be a monumental task. Because the growth of the city’s technology industry is dependent on so many factors — many of which are decades in the making, like education and housing policies — it would likely be impossible to recreate what is happening in Montreal anywhere else.

That isn’t to say AI can’t, and isn’t, thriving anywhere else; it’s just that Montreal, at least for now, has an unfair advantage. “This is one of the very few moments where you feel like there’s an alignment,” says Boufaden of Keatext. “I think there is something happening here.”
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  #2982  
Old Posted May 11, 2017, 11:37 PM
kwoldtimer kwoldtimer is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Mtl View Post
How Montreal became the world’s leading AI and deep learning hub


May 9, 2017 | Written by: Tracey Lindeman

The artificial intelligence industry is projected to be worth $36 billion by 2025. And the Canadian city of Montreal has somehow found itself in the middle of it. Earlier this year, Microsoft acquired a natural-language-processing startup by the name of Maluuba and simultaneously contributed $7 million to the AI labs at McGill University and University of Montreal. Maluuba had garnered much attention — and, most recently, $9 million in investment — for its deep and reinforcement learning research centre, established at the tail end of 2015 and advised by computer scientist Yoshua Bengio. Microsoft also announced that it would double the size of its Montreal AI research group from 40 to 80 people.

Prior to Microsoft’s announcement, Google — which already has an office in Montreal — made inroads of its own. In November of 2016, the technology company simultaneously announced that a group of seven Montreal researchers had won its Focused Research Award and that it was giving another $3.33 million over three years to the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), an inter-university lab led by McGill University and the University of Montreal and headed by Yoshua Bengio. As Wired reported in November, ”This isn’t the first time the company has funneled money into the program. Over the past [10] years, Google had donated about $13 million CAD to academic research in the country and about half was earmarked for AI research.”
Just two months before Google’s announcement came one from the Canadian government. It would invest CAD$213 million into four Montreal academic institutions — McGill, University of Montreal, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal (the latter two of which are affiliated with the University of Montreal). As the Montreal Gazette city newspaper reported, some of the money will go to creating an AI and big-data lab called IVADO. Yoshua Bengio told the Gazette that the money would help create “a mini Silicon Valley in Montreal.”

(...)

Montreal has four major public universities on the island alone (Concordia, McGill, University of Montreal, University of Quebec at Montreal, which collectively boast more than 160,000 enrollees), as well as a number of private and public academic institutions in the greater Montreal region. This year, Montreal was named the top city in the world for students. The honor was mostly predicated on Montreal’s affordability, desirability and people’s positive feelings about having studied there. And, according to Montreal AI lab IVADO, there are more than 150 deep-learning researchers at Montreal’s universities — the “biggest concentration in the worl

Quebec as a province also has some of the lowest tuition in North America, and some of the lowest rents in Canada thanks largely to rent control. The city also has a large and vibrant cultural scene and a legacy of creativity, and Montreal’s bilingual nature makes it feel more European than North American. And finally, technology businesses in Quebec and Canada benefit from a variety of extremely generous tax credits and grants, which helps explain why so many technology companies start or move here, and why so many foreign investors are now speculating here. (In 2015, Quebec’s tech sector accounted for 6.4 percent of jobs in the province — the highest rate in all of Canada. California’s rate, by comparison, is 8.2 percent.) “People know about Canadian tax credits. Americans know their money will go further because Canada invests in tech,” says Prodromou of Fuzzy AI.

All of these factors have conspired to create a city that is cheap to live in and inspiring to create in. As Prodromou says, if you’re young and cool you want to spend a few years in Montreal.
Replicating Montreal’s momentum elsewhere would be a monumental task. Because the growth of the city’s technology industry is dependent on so many factors — many of which are decades in the making, like education and housing policies — it would likely be impossible to recreate what is happening in Montreal anywhere else.

That isn’t to say AI can’t, and isn’t, thriving anywhere else; it’s just that Montreal, at least for now, has an unfair advantage. “This is one of the very few moments where you feel like there’s an alignment,” says Boufaden of Keatext. “I think there is something happening here.”
Odd choice of words in an otherwise good article.
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  #2983  
Old Posted May 12, 2017, 6:15 PM
ssiguy ssiguy is offline
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All of the above is very true but I think it misses out on another part of the equation........very cheap electricity. Tech is a huge consumer of electricity and those rates make a real difference in affordability.
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  #2984  
Old Posted May 12, 2017, 11:30 PM
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All of the above is very true but I think it misses out on another part of the equation........very cheap electricity. Tech is a huge consumer of electricity and those rates make a real difference in affordability.
That actually doesn't matter much in the IT world. Costs are mostly labour and everything else is a side note. And with the rise of cloud computing allowing people to access hardware from anywhere in the world, the place where an IT firm uses most of its energy and the place where its employees work can be on entirely different continents.

My workplace is in Ottawa, but 90% of our physical hardware is located offshore, mostly in Czechia and some in Ireland. So Ontario's electricity prices matter very little to us, despite all of our employees being in Ottawa.
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  #2985  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 12:47 AM
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Ontario is finally about to finish its labour law review. The cabinet has received the final report from the task force and is weighing options. The report will be made public on May 23rd and a bill to change labour laws will be introduced to the legislature a few days later.

Early leaked sources indicate that the bill will strengthen labour laws and expand employee's rights. In particular, all signs are pointing that the new law will give all employees the right to paid sick leave (a first in North America, I believe), create some sort of mechanism to ensure shift workers can't have their schedules changed at the last minute, and introduce a rule that part-time workers and full-time workers must be paid the same amount of money for the same work.

The government has said that the new laws are intended to balance worker's rights with "economic competitiveness", so the changes likely won't be too sweeping. The real difference, IMO, is needed in the retail sectors where competitiveness isn't really a concern (ie. Walmart isn't going to pack up and leave the province if the government makes them offer paid sick leave).
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  #2986  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 4:59 AM
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I really hope it is a sweeping change as Canada suffers from poor worker's rights legislation.
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  #2987  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 5:45 AM
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The labour legislation is a move by the Liberals to win back support lost to the NDP. The Liberals also probably want the PCs to strongly oppose it so that they can be portrayed as uncaring, heartless and out of touch with ordinary people.

I wish this type of legislation would be introduced across Canada as it makes for a better society.
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  #2988  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 12:03 PM
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Paid sick days are a must. Even if it's just 5 days or so. People shouldn't have to choose between making money or working sick and making others around them sick. This would also help take some strain off ERs as I'm sure the Liberals will also spin it. Eitherway I don't see how one can argue against paid sick days as long as the amount given is in moderation.
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  #2989  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 4:19 PM
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If you're an hourly worker why should you get paid for hours not worked? If I miss a day I just dip into my accumulated vacation pay.
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  #2990  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 6:42 PM
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If you're an hourly worker why should you get paid for hours not worked? If I miss a day I just dip into my accumulated vacation pay.
But there goes your vacation time because you're sick which is unfair.

Sick time should be earned and accumulated the same way vacation time is.
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  #2991  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 7:06 PM
Zmonkey Zmonkey is offline
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Originally Posted by Loco101 View Post
The labour legislation is a move by the Liberals to win back support lost to the NDP. The Liberals also probably want the PCs to strongly oppose it so that they can be portrayed as uncaring, heartless and out of touch with ordinary people.

I wish this type of legislation would be introduced across Canada as it makes for a better society.
Won't have major effect on GTA, but everywhere outside the GTA in Ontario which are struggling to pick up private sector jobs will just struggle even further.
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  #2992  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 7:59 PM
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If you're an hourly worker why should you get paid for hours not worked? If I miss a day I just dip into my accumulated vacation pay.
Because being sick is not considered a vacation.

I had the flu a few months ago and I had to take 4 days off from work because I could barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Not really what I consider a vacation. If I had to dip into vacation time as you suggest, then that would have taken time away from my vacation to see my family overseas.
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  #2993  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 8:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Loco101 View Post
The labour legislation is a move by the Liberals to win back support lost to the NDP. The Liberals also probably want the PCs to strongly oppose it so that they can be portrayed as uncaring, heartless and out of touch with ordinary people.

I wish this type of legislation would be introduced across Canada as it makes for a better society.
Agreed. Alberta's Labour review is almost done too, so I'm hoping we will have something similar. Otherwise, Notley should be taking notes.

Wynne is definitely in election mode right now. Pulling the classic Liberal move of campaigning from the left. $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, partial pharmacare, basic income, workers rights etc. sound like they were taken straight out of the NDP platform!
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  #2994  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 8:11 PM
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Agreed. Alberta's Labour review is almost done too, so I'm hoping we will have something similar. Otherwise, Notley should be taking notes.

Wynne is definitely in election mode right now. Pulling the classic Liberal move of campaigning from the left. $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, partial pharmacare, basic income, workers rights etc. sound like they were taken straight out of the NDP platform!
Campaigning AND implementing from the left, if the labour reforms are implemented before the next election.
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  #2995  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 11:06 PM
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Because being sick is not considered a vacation.

I had the flu a few months ago and I had to take 4 days off from work because I could barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Not really what I consider a vacation. If I had to dip into vacation time as you suggest, then that would have taken time away from my vacation to see my family overseas.
Are you an hourly worker? I guess I'm speaking directly to trades, I don't think guys should be getting paid to be "sick" so they can miss work. I work with enough guys who would abuse the shit out of this and is very frustrating.

I haven't taken 5 sick days in my working career dating back to 2001. Have worked pretty sick at times but generally as long as I keep hydrated and well rested I stay healthy.
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  #2996  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 11:24 PM
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^ So you get paid sick days and still work sick? If that's the case you're just as bad as people who abuse it and use them when they aren't sick. The point of them is to stay the F home, get better, not pass your sickness on to everyone else. The Mr. Toughguy act doesn't help or impress anyone.
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  #2997  
Old Posted May 14, 2017, 11:40 PM
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No, I'm hourly, if I don't work I don't get paid. So yes I have worked sick. I often work alone in my line of work. Not trying to be tough just do not agree with paid sick if you're an hourly worker. I don't think an employer should have to pay you when work is not being done. Pretty simple. Join a union who has this benefit if you want but don't force it down every small businesses throat.
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  #2998  
Old Posted May 15, 2017, 12:21 AM
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No, I'm hourly, if I don't work I don't get paid. So yes I have worked sick. I often work alone in my line of work. Not trying to be tough just do not agree with paid sick if you're an hourly worker. I don't think an employer should have to pay you when work is not being done. Pretty simple. Join a union who has this benefit if you want but don't force it down every small businesses throat.
In the end, you will always have people abusing the system. It's important to have checks and balances for these sorts of things. I don't think it's unreasonable to require a doctor's note for more than one day off.

You're right. Union jobs have all the perks and benefits but that doesn't mean people in non unionized private sector work aren't entitled to nothing. Life happens, people get sick no matter how "healthy" you are.
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  #2999  
Old Posted May 15, 2017, 12:37 AM
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No, I'm hourly, if I don't work I don't get paid. So yes I have worked sick. I often work alone in my line of work. Not trying to be tough just do not agree with paid sick if you're an hourly worker. I don't think an employer should have to pay you when work is not being done. Pretty simple. Join a union who has this benefit if you want but don't force it down every small businesses throat.
So you don't believe in vacation or stat days either? It's exactly the same thing.
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  #3000  
Old Posted May 15, 2017, 1:13 AM
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As a small business owner with two employees, I hate stats. It means that our family as the manager group has to go to work to make sure that there is income so my employees can stay home and get paid. One of them makes basically as much money as me. It's not really fair at all.

Last edited by jmt18325; May 15, 2017 at 4:23 AM.
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