Today’s launch of the Vector Institute —  a new independent research facility for artificial intelligence (AI) focused on deep learning and machine learning — is a very important event for Canada. The country is already a leader in academic research for AI and the Vector Institute will both extend that leadership and create the linkages to industry that are required to accelerate the commercialisation of AI technologies across our economy.

Over the past decade many of Canada’s top AI researchers have been recruited to work at Apple, Google and other global leaders. And while that is testimony to the quality of our universities, it also makes it difficult for Canada to maintain its leadership in AI research. With the launch of the Vector Institute there is now a new option for those researchers: to stay in Canada and work on open ended, transformational AI research problems, without being encumbered by either teaching requirements or the drive for applied research in the commercial world.

And by building linkages to industry including financial support from partners such as Integrate.ai, Georgian Partners and others, the Vector Institute is establishing strong commercial relationships that will help bring new AI research to market. That access to the best minds in deep learning and machine learning will represent a significant competitive advantage for those companies collaborating with the Institute, and for the wider Canadian technology ecosystem.

In the end, it will be the commercial partners of the Vector Institute, startups and enterprises alike, that will be the key to Canada’s long-term economic success in AI. Only by bringing new AI research to market as part of real products and services can Canada benefit fully from AI.

We’re excited to be supporting the Vector Institute and we look forward to collaborating with the team over the next few years.