The Ministry of the Environment and Fight Against Climate Change awards $840,000 to Mila, IVADO and Two Quebec Universities to Support a Major Project in Morocco
Montreal, November 30 – The project was approved under the Ministry of Environment and Fight Against Climate Change’s International Climate Cooperation Program (ICCP), as part of the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan. The program aims to strengthen the capacity of francophone countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change with the help of Quebec’s resources and leading research institutions. Over a three-year period, this funding will enable researchers to contribute to the wider deployment of renewable energy and support Morocco’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Led by Yoshua Bengio (Mila), professors Loubna Benabbou (Université du Québec à Rimouski) and Hanane Dagdougui (Polytechnique Montréal), this project was made possible thanks to the involvement of Zouheir Malki, partnership advisor at IVADO. This interdisciplinary collaboration reflects the shared commitment of all parties to apply sophisticated artificial intelligence systems toward mitigating the effects of climate change. By consolidating Quebec’s world-renowned expertise in AI, the potential of this project is further solidified by the support of the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) and the Mohammadia School of Engineering (EMI).
The Case of Morocco
With nearly 100 Mt CO2 eq emitted in 2017, Morocco nonetheless remains a low GHG emitting country. Yet, it is experiencing the effects of climate change as evidenced by increasing average temperatures, decreased rainfall and more frequent and intense droughts and floods. Morocco committed to reducing its emissions by 42% by 2030 and this without compromising its economic and social development. Since the generation of electricity contributes to about 25% of GHG emissions, the country aims to increase its deployment of clean energy. As a result, this project will mobilize Quebec expertise to support Morocco’s efforts and strengthen its capacity to reduce its GHG emissions in the energy sector.
One of the challenges to the deployment of renewable energy lies in the difficulty of accurately predicting renewable resources (solar or wind) and the quantities of generated energy primarily due to changing weather conditions. To meet this challenge, the research team will develop predictive models and a decision-support system using artificial intelligence data valorization methods. These tools, coupled with measures aimed at strengthening the capabilities of Moroccan teams, will ultimately optimize the location and performance of wind and solar installations.
Yoshua Bengio, Scientific Director, Mila
“If we are to fight the effects of climate change that are already looming over us and harming the entire planet, improving the efficiency and deployment of renewable energy must become the priority. It is therefore with great excitement that we look forward to this collaboration with Morocco for the use of AI to optimize the installation of wind and solar energies. It is also with a big smile, as Morocco is home to a warm people and the country where my parents and many of my grandparents were born.”
Gilles Savard, CEO, IVADO
“Mobilizing knowledge to transform AI advances into concrete applications and benefits for society is at the heart of our mission. This large-scale project with Morocco will deploy innovative solutions to address our biggest challenge today, climate change. It is thanks to all of Zouheir Malki’s hard work that we have been able to bring this important project to fruition, and we are proud to contribute toward it.”
For more information about the project:
Founded by Professor Yoshua Bengio of the Université de Montréal, Mila is a research institute in artificial intelligence which rallies about 700 researchers specializing in the field of deep learning. Based in Montreal, Mila’s mission is to be a global pole for scientific advances that inspires innovation and the development of AI for the benefit of all. Mila is a non-profit organization recognized globally for its significant contributions to the field of deep learning, particularly in the areas of language modelling, machine translation, object recognition and generative models.
IVADO emerged from an initiative led by Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal in 2016. With the support of its ecosystem, which links the academic, industrial and institutional sectors, IVADO develops leading-edge expertise in a range of digital intelligence fields, including data science, artificial intelligence and operations research, and helps transform new scientific breakthroughs into practical applications, economic opportunities and benefits for society. For more information, go to ivado.ca.