Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy Overview

30.03.2017

Goals

In Budget 2017, the Government of Canada announced $125 million in funding for a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy to be led by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). The AI Strategy has four major goals:

  1. Increase the number of outstanding artificial intelligence researchers and skilled graduates in Canada;
  2. Establish interconnected nodes of scientific excellence in Canada’s three major centres for artificial intelligence in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto-Waterloo;
  3. Develop global thought leadership on the economic, ethical, policy and legal implications of advances in artificial intelligence; and
  4. Support a national research community on artificial intelligence.

 Expected Results

Over the next 5 years, CIFAR will collaborate with the Canadian research community to:

  • enhance Canada’s international profile in AI research and training;
  • increase the productivity in AI academic research and enhanced capacity to generate world-class research and innovation;
  • increase collaboration across geographic areas of excellence in AI research and strengthen relationships with receptors of innovation;
  • attract and retain outstanding AI talent in Canadian universities and industry;
  • and translate AI research discoveries in the private and public sectors leading to socio-economic benefits for Canada.

Programs

The CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Research Strategy includes:

  • AI Institutes. The strategy will fund three AI institutes in Canada’s three major centres for deep learning and reinforcement learning research – in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto-Waterloo. These three AI Institutes will provide a critical mass of research and innovation excellence, and will work with researchers, industry and other stakeholders across Canada.
  • Canada CIFAR Chairs in AI Program. Academic chairs, associated with a Canadian organization, will be funded at one of the three AI Institutes. As international competition for deep learning and reinforcement learning researchers intensifies, funding for the chairs will help Canada retain and recruit top academic researchers, and allow them the freedom to carry out research, train students, and interact with industry. The Canada CIFAR Chairs in AI Program will support the recruitment and training of young researchers, including both graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. It will include funding for graduate students who will work with the Canada CIFAR Chairs in AI, as well as training for students at the three AI Institutes.
  • AI in Society Program.  Advances in AI will have profound implications for the economy, government and society. The strategy will fund policy-relevant working groups to examine these implications, publish their findings and inform the public and policy-makers.
  • National AI Program. The Strategy includes a program of national activities that will build on CIFAR’s success with summer and winter schools in AI, and support activities that are national and collaborative in scope such as an annual meeting of Canada CIFAR Chairs in AI, and aim to ensure that Canada is well positioned for sustained global leadership in AI research and innovation. 

Implementation

CIFAR is working with the AI Institutes, research organizations in the three centres and other stakeholders to coordinate, support and manage activities related to the AI Strategy. CIFAR is working to recruit an Executive Director who will manage and coordinate CIFAR activities related to the AI Strategy. Meetings are being secured with representatives of the major centres in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto-Waterloo to begin discussions related to the CIFAR funding agreements with the AI Institutes. It is hoped that funding agreements with the three AI Institutes will be in place by the end of September 2017 and that the nomination of Canada CIFAR Chairs in AI will begin shortly thereafter.

Contact

For more information, please contact AI@cifar.ca

(Updated: May 8, 2017)

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