Google DeepMind is expanding to Canada to tap into the country's AI talent

Demis Hassabis and David Silver DeepMindDeepMindDeepMind’s Dave Silver and Demis Hassabis.

DeepMind is set to open an office in Edmonton, Canada, as the Google-owned artificial intelligence lab starts to ramp up its overseas engineering efforts.

DeepMind currently has two offices. Its main base is in London, King’s Cross, but it has a smaller operation at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

“We’re thrilled to announce our next phase: the opening of DeepMind’s first ever international AI research office in Edmonton, Canada, in close collaboration with the University of Alberta,” DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis wrote on the company’s website.

Canada is an obvious destination for DeepMind to expand to given the country’s strong reputation when it comes to AI development.

“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,” wrote Hassabis.

DeepMind has had links with the University of Alberta for several years and nearly a dozen of its graduates have been hired by the company. The machine learning lab at the university has also received funding from DeepMind for an unknown number of PhDs. DeepMind plans to increase the amount of funding it gives to the university off the back of the new partnership.

“Our hope is that this collaboration will help turbo-charge Edmonton’s growth as a technology and research hub, attracting even more world-class AI researchers to the region and helping to keep them there too,” wrote Hassabis.

Founded by Hassabis, Mustafa Suleyman, and Shane Legg in 2010, DeepMind now employs over 400 people, with around 20 of those hires in Mountain View.

“DeepMind Alberta” will be led by Michael Bowling, Patrick Pilarski, and Rich Sutton, who was DeepMind’s first advisor back in 2010. All three are professors are the University of Alberta and will continue to hold their academic positions while working for DeepMind. “The team will work on core scientific research,” Hassabis wrote.

He added: “We intend to provide additional funding to support long-term AI programs at UAlberta. Our hope is that this collaboration will help turbo-charge Edmonton’s growth as a technology and research hub, attracting even more world-class AI researchers to the region and helping to keep them there too.”

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