The past year will certainly be remembered as a pivotal one for the artificial intelligence (AI) sector. While this science has been developing at a steady pace for the last few decades, it has reached a major public milestone with the arrival of large language models: the immense potential of AI to transform our lives and industries is now there for everyone to see. This public realization is raising many questions and debates about the potential impacts of AI, both positive and negative, even within the scientific community.
The Mila community came together in 2017 on the basis of a common ambition, shared by all its members: to become a global pole for scientific advances that inspires innovation and the progress of AI for the benefit of all. The capacities and performance of AI systems are accelerating, and our community has grown from a few dozen individuals to over 1400 members, making our mission and values more important than ever. We express them in several ways, including:
Mila is proud to share some of the major research and initiatives led by members of its community over the past year. They are indicative of the cutting-edge research and important social debates taking place at our Institute.
Pierre Boivin, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Valérie Pisano, President and CEO
Yoshua Bengio, Founder and Scientific Director
This year, the Mila community has over 1400 members, including professors, researchers (at the master’s, doctorate, and postdoctorate levels, as well as trainees and visiting researchers), students (in professional master’s and graduate diploma programs) and employees. This represents an increase of 40% over the previous year.
The number of Mila researchers who received grants and scholarships since 2022, for a 28% increase over the previous year.
Research projects involving Mila-affiliated faculty members jumped from 447 to 604: a 35% increase.
The number of students at Mila went up by 30% over the past year, thanks in large part to an increase in research funding.
Mila is proud to have added three new Canada CIFAR AI Chairs since April 2023, bringing the number of active chairs at Mila up to 53.
In October 2022, Mila Core Academic Member Blake Richards received an Arthur B. McDonald Fellowship in recognition of outstanding contributions to the fields of neuroscience and AI.
In June 2023, Mila Associate Academic Members Mathieu Blanchette and Kaleem Siddiqi were awarded a joint chair in AI in health by Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.
In August and September 2023, Mila Founder and Scientific Director Yoshua Bengio was named a member of the UN’s Scientific Advisory Board for Independent Advice on Breakthroughs in Science and Technology and an External Advisory Board Member of the UK’s Frontier AI Taskforce. As part of his roles, he helps both entities better understand the risks and opportunities associated with the rapid development of AI.
In September 2023, Mila Core Academic Member Joelle Pineau was named a member of the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of her significant research contribution to machine learning, particularly Bayesian inference and planning in the face of uncertainty.
Compiled annually by AMiner, the 2023 AI 2000 Most Influential Scholars list is conferred in recognition of outstanding technical achievements with a lasting contribution and impact in the fields of AI between 2022–2023:
Professor and Mila Associate Academic Member AJung Moon is on the executive committee of the Canadian Robotics Council. She also chairs its research and training committee, created in 2022 to help build a future where Canadians leverage robotics to enhance their productivity, safety, global competitiveness and quality of work.
The number of organizations that signed agreements with Mila during the reference period is 80, compared to 38 last year, for a staggering increase of 110%.
Since April 2022, 57 companies have benefited from technology transfer.
Mila students who completed industry internships in the past year.
In 2022–2023, the number of Mila industry partners jumped from 105 to 119, an increase of 13%.
Of those 119 industry partners, 76 are Canadian.
There is often a significant gap between the SME's starting point in AI and the advance use of these technologies. Our AI Activation program equips SMEs with the necessary tools to bridge this gap.
Mila’s Applied Machine Learning Research Team works with organizations on challenging, high-impact machine learning projects. The team’s unique collaborative approach aims at designing and implementing cutting-edge solutions that benefit organizations by enriching their machine learning capabilities.
New entrepreneurial projects created by Mila researchers.
The number of startups that were awarded Mila Startup status by the Startups Committee, giving them access to funding, talent and various privileges through the Mila partnership program.
With the Korbit AI Mentor, users receive specific, constructive suggestions on how to improve their code, make it more readable, learn new librairies and align it with best practices. They’re also able to learn new tools and models for writing code.
In May 2023, Korbit raised 11.3 million dollars in Series A funding to further develop its AI platform and facilitate the introduction of the AI Mentor for software engineering.
Jumpcut AI’s mission is to make video editing as efficient and intuitive as text editing.
Tiptree’s goal is to establish a comprehensive understanding of Earth data, providing scalable and versatile AI-based solutions for energy companies.
Tracel AI is building a deep learning framework and ML ops platform for researchers and engineers. Written in Rust, the platform provides them with the most flexible, efficient and reliable tools to bring their ideas to life.
Gradients is developing learning-based battery aging models for the electric vehicle (EV) industry. The aging models allow EV manufacturers to offer more accurate warranties and allow fleet owners to optimize their replacement schedules.
Driad AI is building new multimodal deep learning and remote sensing data analysis tools to redefine forest monitoring, forest inventories, and land restoration at all spatial scales. Its mission is to optimize forest use and management and promote sustainable forestry by providing comprehensive, granular information such as woodland volume, carbon sequestration and insect and disease detection in an efficient and accessible way.
SportBoost AI democratizes access to cutting-edge sports data through the power of computer vision, providing athletes and sports teams with a range of accessible tools to measure, analyze, and improve their performance.
Alpaca is a personalized AI toolkit designed to help artists explore further, iterate faster and amplify their creative potential.
Overmind is a collaborative, AI-native data interface (like Jupyter) that operates in your browser. Overmind’s mission is to augment users’ analytical capabilities with an individualized data scientist, making computation accessible and intuitive for everyone.
Eureka aims to harness our collective wisdom to design an AI tool for developing interactive AI application systems.
The collaboration between Mila and Vietnamese IT company FPT has yielded numerous results over the past year. Joint research projects conducted by the two organizations include System 2 with Professor Yoshua Bengio’s team, Massive Point Cloud with Professor Siamak Ravanbakhsh and AI4Code with Professor Jin Guo. All produced papers that were accepted at prestigious conferences: ICLR 2023 Workshop SNN, ACL 2023, NeurIPS 2023, EMNLP 2023. In addition to research, the partnership includes training and exchange programs that are highly beneficial to both organizations.
AI and quantum science are two future-forward disciplines that have the potential to help solve some of the greatest social issues of our times. Mila developed a number of initiatives in partnership with Québec Quantique over the past year, including an event featuring professors Gilles Brassard and Yoshua Bengio that brought together industry, academic and public-sector stakeholders to discuss potential synergies between these two essential technologies. The number of Mila partners who are working at the intersection of AI and quantum science doubled in the past year.
The development of socially responsible AI for the benefit of all is at the heart of Mila’s mission. As a leader, Mila contributes to social dialogue and the development of applications that will benefit society through collaborations between researchers and stakeholders with diverse skills who wish to harness the potential of AI and advanced technologies to create a better world.
The FAENet: Frame averaging equivariant GNN for materials modeling project led by Mila Professors Yoshua Bengio and David Rolnick and Intel Labs researcher Santigo Miret aims to address the climate crisis by accelerating the transition to lower-carbon energy sources. Catalyst materials are vital for electrochemical reactions used in key industrial processes like renewable energy storage and electrofuel synthesis. This paper, presented at the International Conference on Machine Learning 2023 (ICML), proposes specific improvements for ML models, enhancing both efficiency and accuracy.
Mila PhD student Mélisande Teng’s paper Bird Distribution Modelling using Remote Sensing and Citizen Science Data was recognized as the “overall best paper” at the ICLR 2023 Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning Workshop in Kigali, Rwanda. The goal of the project is to facilitate the work of ecologists by leveraging easily accessible satellite images and citizen science data to map the distribution of bird species at scale and better understand species habitats.
The first in-person edition of the Climate Change AI Summer School was held at Mila in August 2023 with the goal of educating and preparing participants with a background in AI and/or a climate change–related field to tackle major climate problems using AI.
Mila positioned itself as a major contributor to the advancement of AI in the health and life sciences in 2022–2023, particularly through major partnerships aimed at creating an agile ecosystem and making AI an even more powerful tool for drug discovery and development.
For the latest installation of Mila’s mentorship program, half of the spaces were set aside for underrepresented groups. Mila’s mentorship program was created to provide Mila researchers with a working environment that fosters their growth and helps them achieve their full potential.
A series of EDI training sessions were held, including a session on unconscious bias for Mila’s leaders, an EDI training session for mentorship program participants, an EDI training session for Mila’s student recruitment committee, and two other sessions that were made available to the wider academic community: on EDI in research and EDI in grant proposals.
Mila is also dedicated to supporting projects that integrate EDI, such as Biasly, an AI tool that detects misogynistic comments, and First Languages AI Reality (FLAIR), an AI tool to help Indigenous languages flourish.
In terms of governance, a cybersecurity committee was created to pursue Mila’s cybersecurity goals. Mila drafted and approved a number of cybersecurity-related directives, including one on supplier security management, and defined a set of management indicators that will be operational in the coming months.
Mila is also pursuing discussions with its affiliated universities in order to align on common goals and define the roles and responsibilities of each. Their proactive collaboration helps build synergy between the information security policies and procedures of all involved.
Mila’s mission is to be a global pole for scientific advances that inspires innovation and the progress of AI for the benefit of all.
Mila’s values are the cornerstone of our vision and the DNA of our organization:
Attract, train and retain a diversified pool recognized globally for their high-level expertise.
Achieve the highest levels of scientific leadership in the development of AI.
Contribute to partnerships, projects and initiatives to accelerate the deployment and adoption of AI.
Develop perspectives on the potential of AI and the issues related to its use.