Electronic Products & Technology

Québec City region a well-kept AI secret

French Canada’s Capital serves the AI ecosystem on national and international scenes

December 11, 2020  EP&T Magazine

The Québec City region, with all its assets in artificial intelligence (AI), is making a name for itself in the national and international ecosystems. This is the main finding of a report entitled “Portrait of the artificial intelligence ecosystem of the greater Québec City region,” published jointly this week by Laval University and Québec International.

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According to the portrait, more than 100 researchers are involved in various projects related to AI at Laval University and other research institutions in the region. In the private sector, more than 100 Québec City companies are now integrating AI technologies into their products or services.

On the whole, the Capitale-Nationale region’s assets can be summed up by the proximity and sharing of available resources in a spirit of ‘co-opetition.’ The region enjoys quick, easy access to research expertise and highly qualified professionals. For example, at Laval University, the establishment of a number of cutting-edge research units in recent years, such as the Big Data Research Centre (BDRC) and, more recently, the Institute Intelligence and Data (IID), have enabled training students and AI professionals who can support organizations in the implementation of technologies and their digital transformation.

Firms specializing in AI based in region

Many companies specializing in AI based in the region were directly spawned from this expertise in much the same way that the optics-photonics sector thirty years ago did with the creation of the National Optics Institute.


The support of continuing professional development programs and the availability of specialized programs in the region’s various college and university institutions have undoubtedly played a key role in this business success. AI innovation can be found in a broad spectrum of “real-world” data expertise, both on the research side and in industry: management, consulting, insurance and financial services, smart cities, entertainment, manufacturing, and health and safety. The region’s ecosystem covers all aspects of AI, spanning telecommunications systems, methods of data processing and analysis, and ethical and societal issues. Its transdisciplinary impact is also bolstered by the culture of collaboration and exchange firmly rooted in both academia and the university community.

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