Innovation Story




Since 1985, the McGill Research Centre for Intelligent Machines (CIM) has been a driving force of innovation in Quebec and around the world. The mission of CIM is to excel in the field of intelligent systems, stressing basic research, technology development, and education. Our researchers and graduates work in diverse industries and contribute to the growing field of artificial intelligence with the aim of increasing the capabilities of intelligent systems.


Our story began with the establishment of the centre by a group of Engineering professors at McGill, who created a research centre focusing on intelligent systems. This unique collaboration fostered cooperation among members from different departments, including Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science. In this interdisciplinary environment, researchers are in direct contact with colleagues in other fields.This spurs innovative ideas which are explored in a collaborative shared space at McGill University.

The five main research themes – Robotics, Artificial Perception, HumanComputer Interaction, Systems and Control, and Graphics – are explored by over twenty full members and a couple hundred students and research partners. The Centre hosts regular seminars, research showcases and team building events to inspire connection and collaboration. Through internships and industrial partnerships, our students train for real world problems and gain opportunities to network with established companies or become successful entrepreneurs themselves.


CIM research is not limited to theory in the classroom and the lab. Our members belong to research consortiums, consult with tech giants and partner with companies to develop advanced technology to give them a competitive edge. Our graduates have founded numerous spinoff companies which range from medical imaging, haptic devices, video analysis, and robotics. They remain closely connected with the centre and often return to share their success stories and inspire the next generation of students.


CIM has been the source of many important scientific discoveries and technological developments over the years. Founding member George Zames is considered the father of H∞ Control. This was and is an astounding contribution to science and humanity. Some notable innovations include the amphibious robot Aqua, which can just as easily swim as it can walk on land and is used for environmental monitoring in coral reefs. Or the SmartWheeler, a wheelchair equipped with advanced sensors and technology that allows its driver to navigate the world safely. We participated in the Automotive Partnership Canada to revolutionize transportation and develop more efficient electric vehicle engines. Our computer vision researchers develop algorithms to detect disease in medical scans automatically and with high accuracy. In graphics, we create ever more realistic and immersive virtual realities using advanced techniques.

The Centre for Intelligent Machines has a legacy of innovation that continues to this day. The research at CIM has many manifestations, but one common thread ties it all together – increasing the abilities of intelligent systems to build a smarter, more connected, and sustainable future.

Our impact is felt around the world and CIM is recognized as an important contributor to the field of Artificial Intelligence.

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