Chip giant Nvidia today announced the opening of its new AI research centre in Toronto.
Nvidia Director of AI Sanja Fidler will lead the AI Research Lab. The University of Toronto Assistant Professor previously worked at the Toyota Technological Institute in Chicago as a research assistant professor. Fidler is a good fit, as her main research interests are 2D and 3D object detection, particularly scalable multi-class detection, object segmentation and image labeling, and (3D) scene understanding.
The Canadian government hailed Nvidia’s announcement. Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains said “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. Our government welcomes this investment and is proud to partner with Nvidia as we continue advancing our machine learning knowledge.”
Nvidia Founder and CEO Jensen Huang gave the keynote at the lab’s opening ceremony. Also on the speaker list were University of Toronto professor and Vector Institute Chief Scientific Advisor Geoffrey Hinton, Vector Institute CEO Garth Gibson, Vice President of Research at University of Toronto Vector Vivek Goel, and Ontario Minister of Economic Development Jim Wilson.
During the event Dr. Hinton joked about how he had approached Nvidia in 2009 to request a free GPU to run his fledgling neural network — but got rejected. Huang responded by presenting him with a US$3,900 Titan V — the most powerful Volta-based GPU for personal computers. Interestingly, Dr. Hinton’s revolutionary neural network architecture AlexNet, which won the 2012 ImageNet contest and marked the beginning of the golden age of deep learning, ran on Nvidia GPUs.
With a long history of artificial neural network research and a high concentration of AI talents, Toronto has become a hotspot for AI research. Last year Google pumped US$150 million into The Vector Institute, a leading Canadian AI initiative housed at the University of Toronto, and launched Google Brain Toronto; and Uber hired University of Toronto associate professor Raquel Urtasun to lead a new Toronto lab focused on self-driving technologies.
Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen