Montreal Cements Status as AI Capital by Announcing Two Conferences

Montreal is continuing to strut its stuff as a world capital for AI talent and innovation.

Two conventions revolving around AI have recently been announced in Montreal that will bring in leading minds from the field along with millions in tourism revenue. Both events will take place at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, one of the largest convention centres in the city.

The 30th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) is the most recent conference announced and will take place in 2021. IJCAI has been held biennially since 1969, but starting last year has turned into an annual event. It brings more than 3,000 AI experts and researchers together from all over the world, accounting for over $4.5 million in tourism revenue for Montreal.

“Montréal hosts more international events than any other city in North America, and artificial intelligence features in numerous major conventions focused on the future,” said Raymond Larivée, CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal. “We have the privilege of hosting these world experts and playing an active role in bringing them together in the heart of our city, which will translate into significant intellectual benefits for the city and the province.”

Montreal was awarded the conference after support from two leading AI minds in the city, Joëlle Pineau and Donia Precup. There was also an organizing committee with representatives from McGill University, Polytechnique, Concordia University and more.

Pineau is the co-director of McGill’s Reasoning and Learning Lab and was recently tapped by Facebook to head the social media giant’s new AI lab in Montreal. Precup also teaches at McGill and will lead the Montreal office of DeepMind, Google’s AI division.

This is the third time the conference has been held in Canada and the second time in Montreal. The first Montreal event happened in 1995, and that was the last time the IJCAI was in Canada.

On top of the IJCAI, the new Forum on the Socially Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence was announced earlier this year, taking place November 2 and 3. This conference deals largely with the ethical and social responsibilities of AI, bringing together educators and entrepreneurs from all around the globe.

The forum will also serve as the backdrop for the drafting of the guiding principles for the Montréal Declaration on the Ethical Development of AI. This declaration will help to guide the visions of the promising and exploding field of study.

The two conferences are being held in Montreal largely due to the city’s emergence as a hotbed for AI not only in Canada but the world. As mentioned above, Facebook and Google have both chosen the city for new AI labs, along with other companies like Stradigi and leading the way as well.