Google has announced plans to expand their artificial intelligence research efforts through a new research team set up in France. The team will work with France’s AI research community on challenges such as health science, art, and the environment. Any work done by the team will be made public, and any code they create will be open source.
“Our new research team will work closely with the AI research community in France on issues like health, science, art and the environment. They will publish their research and open-source the code they produce, so that everyone can use these insights to solve their own problems, in their own way,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post today.
The campaign known as “Grow with Google in France” will be launched with “Les Ateliers Numériques Google.” The digital workshops will be hosted at four local Google Hubs all over the country. They will be run by local partners, through which they will provide free training in online skills and digital literacy. The first space will open in Rennes in the Brittany region during the first half of 2018.
Beyond the AI initiative, Google will be doubling its staff in France from 500 to 1,000 employees, and the company is expected to expand its French office by 6,000 square meters.
However, Google isn’t the only company expanding in Europe, as Facebook already has an AI lab in France. Facebook released plans to put €10 million towards their AI efforts in France. The money would be utilized for scholarships, funding servers, and open datasets for public institutions, and they have added thirty new fellowship positions to their AI research Paris’ PhD program. Also, their French team also doubled in size from 30 to 60.
In 2016 and 2017, tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft also opened AI research offices in Montreal, a city famous for AI innovation and educational institutes like Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) and McGill University.