Microsoft announces expansion of Montreal AI research lab

In early 2017, shortly after acquiring Microsoft announced that it would expand its presence in Montreal following its acquisition of local dee-learning research startup Maluuba. A year later, the tech giant is announcing plans to further expand its operations in the Canadian city, hiring a new research director in the process.

Perhaps the biggest move is Microsoft's hiring of Geoffrey Gordon, currently a Carnegie Mellon University professor and prominent artificial intelligence expert, to be the Montreal lab's new research director.

"We want to be doing the research that will be infusing AI into Microsoft products today and tomorrow, and Geoff's research really spans that," said Jennifer Chayes, a technical fellow and managing director of Microsoft Research New England, New York City and Montreal. "He'll be able to help us improve our products and he'll also be laying the foundation for AI to do much more than is possible today."

Additionally, Microsoft says that it plans to double the size of Microsoft Research Montreal over the next two years, increasing to upwards of 75 technical experts.

Chayes calls Montreal "one of the most exciting places in AI right now," and Microsoft has already seen some major advances come out of its local team. Those advances include bolstering machine reading comprehension and even teaching AI to handle complex tasks with none other than Ms. Pac-Man. This research may lead to potentially important discoveries as Microsoft looks to continue its all-out AI push in the coming years. For now, we're already seeing the fruits of early AI experiments in services like Office and Cortana.