Montréal’s artificial intelligence (AI) cluster just got larger. Enterprise cloud computing and software company VMware has launched a new AI centre, and announced plans to collaborate on a number of technology fronts.

In recent years, Montréal has transformed itself into an AI hot spot.

The newly announced VMware Next G-AI Research and Innovation Centre aims to advance research in cloud, networking, and AI technologies to support the development of 5G and 6G networks.

“Montréal has one of the most significant clusters of AI researchers in the world, as well as a thriving community of innovative startups,” said Kit Colbert, chief technology officer, VMware.

The centre will support three connected programs: applied research, a next-generation AI research and innovation lab, and a “software factory.”

VMware intends to work in partnership with the non-profit national research organization Mitacs to develop sustainable 5G+ and 6G technologies.

The software company said the research and innovation lab will give researchers and industry partners access to software and hardware meant to validate and demonstrate “key concepts,” while the software factory will provide customers and partners with access to open source technologies.

“With some of the top researchers and a pool of more than 27,000 highly qualified talents, Montréal’s world-renowned expertise in artificial intelligence has a lot to offer to develop sustainable and accessible 5G+ and 6G technologies,” said Stéphane Paquet, president and CEO, Montréal International.

In recent years, Montréal has transformed itself into an AI hot spot, home to companies such as Element AI, My Intelligent Machines (MIMs), Deeplite, and Heyday AI. The AI research institute Mila plays a major role in the Québec city’s tech ecosystem.

Led by Canadian AI luminary Yoshua Bengio, Mila has a community of more than 900 researchers covering fields such as generative models, natural language processing, and computer vision. The institute was created in 1993 as a result of a partnership between the Université de Montréal, McGill University, Polytechnique Montréal, and HEC Montréal.

Several international companies, including Samsung and Ericsson, have opened AI labs in Montréal.

The AI ecosystem is large enough that in 2021 Startup Montréal unveiled a map that aimed to visually represent the city’s AI cluster.

“VMware’s decision to establish its Next G-AI Research and Innovation Centre in Quebec demonstrates the attractiveness and expertise of Quebec in the technology sector,” said Hubert Bolduc, president of Investissement Québec International.

“The Investissement Québec International teams are proud to have supported and guided VMware in the development of their project,” Bolduc added. “The establishment of the centre will advance important research towards 6G networks and provide opportunities for Quebec startups to test and develop their technology.”

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

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