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Google DeepMind Research Team Opens AI Nerve Center In Canada

Google is heavily invested in artificial intelligence, one of the hottest fields in tech right now right alongside machine learning, the two of which are tightly intertwined with one another. As part of its ongoing effort in AI, Google's DeepMind team has opened up an AI research office in Edmonton, Canada. This is the teams first and only AI research office located outside of the UK.

"It was a big decision for us to open our first non-UK research lab, and the fact we’re doing so in Edmonton is a sign of the deep admiration and respect we have for the Canadian research community," Google stated in a blog post. "In fact, we’ve had particularly strong links with the UAlberta for many years: nearly a dozen of its outstanding graduates have joined us at DeepMind, and we’ve sponsored the machine learning lab to provide additional funding for PhDs over the past few years."

Left to Right: Richard Sutton, Michael Bowling, and Patrick Pilarski - Image Source: John Ulan

The University of Alberta will be working closely with scientists in the new AI research office. Rick Sutton, DeepMind's first ever advisor from back in 2010 and a pioneer in reinforcement learning, will be leading the team alongside Micheal Bowling and Patrick Pilarski. All three currently teach at UAlberta and will continue to do so while contributing to AI research at the new facility.

Part of the goal here is to help put Edmonton on the map as a technology and research hub. Google and the team will both contribute to academic community through teaching and research, and provide additional funding to support long-term AI programs. It is through these investments and efforts that Google and its DeepMind team hope to attract some of the brightest minds in AI research to the region.

"In the UK, we feel we’ve helped played an important role in encouraging and supporting the AI community to flourish—from start-ups and universities, to new organizations like the Turing Institute—and we hope that we can contribute to the success of Canada’s pioneering centres of research too," Google added.

On a broader scale, the DeepMind team's overarching mission is to push the boundaries of AI and to develop programs that can learn to solve practically any complex program without human intervention. While comparisons to Skynet are inevitable, there is the potential to do a lot of good through AI research and development. Everything from understanding climate change to making improvements in healthcare are possible.

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