Microsoft has announced a partnership with the University of Waterloo’s Artificial Intelligence Institute (Waterloo.ai) to work and solve some of the world’s most significant challenges.
Waterloo.ai is a joint venture of the university’s faculties of Engineering and Mathematics. It also includes researchers from the Arts, Applied Health Sciences, as well as Environment and Science, as Waterloo’s leaders know AI is bigger than just Computer Science. It has the potential to impact nearly every industry and solve many problems.
The partnership will see Microsoft provide access to the leading Azure technology as well as funding and expertise to help leverage AI for social good.
Microsoft will support several Waterloo AI research grants, including leveraging massive computational power and machine learning to find new ways to improve emotion discovery for people with autism, as well as climate change projections, fall detection for the elderly and disaster response, among many more.
The Redmond, Washington-based company believes AI is the defining technology of our time. Further, Microsoft says its Waterloo partnership is part of its commitment to accelerate the growth of AI in Canada, build Canada’s future AI workforce and create a more sustainable world.
One of the growing drivers of Canada’s economy, according to Microsoft, is AI. In 2018, $548 million in venture capital was invested in Canadian AI companies — approximately 50 percent more than in 2017. Additionally, between June 2015 and 2017, Canadian job opportunities in AI grew by nearly 500 percent.
This announcement comes as part of Microsoft’s broader AI for Good initiative. The initiative includes a $115 million over five years to provide funding, technology and expertise to individuals, non-profits, academic institutions and organizations to tackle some of society’s significant challenges.
Further, the initiative includes aiding in humanitarian efforts through AI for Humanitarian Action, improving accessibility with AI for Accessibility and addressing environmental challenges with $50 million allocated explicitly to AI for Earth. Microsoft says Canadian research teams from across Canada are undertaking several AI for Good projects. Canada ranks second of all countries globally in the number of grantees.
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