NVIDIA Announces AI Research Centre in Toronto

Brace yourself for one you haven’t heard before—a huge name in the technology industry is opening up an AI centre in Canada.

To be more specific, Toronto—and that massive name is NVIDIA who today announced a brand new AI research lab to accompany the tech company’s office that opened in 2015 after acquiring TransGaming. Sanja Fidler will lead NVIDIA’s Toronto lab, drawing form her expertise in computer science as a professor at the University of Toronto.

Fidler is also a member of the Vector Institute, which NVIDIA name-dropped in their announcement as reasoning for Toronto becoming a thriving AI hub. Fidler’s main research goals involve deep learning and computer vision, with a bit of natural language processing thrown in. She will continue to serve as a professor while leading the NVIDIA lab.

Sanja Fidler NVIDIA
The head of NVIDIA’s Toronto AI lab, Sanja Fidler.

“The fundamental AI work being done in Toronto is further solidifying Canada’s place as a world-leader in the field. Our talent and innovation ecosystem make us an attractive place for companies, like NVIDIA, to grow and create well-paying jobs for Canadians,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “Our government welcomes this investment and is proud to partner with NVIDIA as we continue advancing our machine learning knowledge.”

NVIDIA will look to triple the number of AI researchers they currently have in the city by the end of 2018. They will expand their office size by about 50 per cent to welcome all the new talent. Right now, NVIDIA employs about 50 staff in the city, and across the globe, there are over 200 NVIDIA researchers. The company focuses on many different areas including self-driving cars, computer vision and graphics, though it is mainly known for designing and producing graphics processing units.

“Attracting multinationals’ research labs is integral to building a sustained innovation ecosystem in Toronto,” said Vivek Goel, University of Toronto’s vice-president of research and innovation. “Moving cutting-edge research into the commercial sphere is a difficult process that can be best achieved by bringing together researchers, entrepreneurs, investors and big, established industry players—both domestic and foreign.”

NVIDIA joins the ever-growing list of multinational companies opening up research centres in Toronto. Samsung opened up a global AI centre in the city less than a month ago, while both Google and Uber have labs focused on AI in the city as well.

This is the second research lab NVIDIA has opened. The first one started operating last year in Seattle.

Photo by Chris Sorensen