Born in Montreal during the Covid-19 pandemic, JACOBB is at the heart of the applied artificial intelligence development capacity in Quebec. With its mission to “Facilite the integration of artificial intelligence in the economic fabric”, JACOBB focuses on developing pragmatic and profitable solutions. Thanks to its researcher’s expertise in automatic and deep learning, JACOBB quickly devoted itself to creating promising alliances to exploit the transversality of machine learning and other techniques within various industrial sectors.
So, in early 2020, JACOBB and six other College Centers for Technology Transfer (CCTT) launched the “Force.IA” initiative to carry out collaborative industrial research projects, create a cohort of world-class industrial researchers, share expertise and acquire state-of-the-art computing equipment, including quantum approaches, capable of supporting its innovative customer’s ambitions. Supported by the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation of Quebec, another Force.IA initiative will run some 40 collaborative and multisectoral applied research projects in AI between 2021 and 2023.
Among other projects, JACOBB and its partners, including the MES and three other centers are currently working on developing a digital platform dedicated to our college education system. This platform will link big data with AI cutting edge analytical tools in order to help model the students’ academic paths and detect those at risk of failure, then provide intelligent training support via AI-powered avatars. We should also mention the Cybercertif.ai project which aims to assess and possibly certify cybersecurity in AI applications. Many other initiatives are in preparation, including partnerships with organizations involved in basic research and in applied research funding. Concerned about ethics and fairness, JACOBB fully subscribes to the Montreal Declarations’ orientations.
Establish accessible environment and favorable conditions for the adoption of AI
Many present AI as the bearer of a revolution that will affect all economic sectors. In Quebec, some companies, especially large and medium-sized ones, jumped on the ball and quickly embarked on a digital transformation, already reaping the benefits. Others, on the other hand, are more reserved, even hesitant.
Constraints mentioned by the latter include the lack of time, the lack of qualified personnel, a lack of knowledge and the difficulty in evaluating the return on investment. All of these fears clearly demonstrate that we need to better inform and support entrepreneurs and managers in their efforts to integrate AI and, more broadly, to include innovation in their corporate culture. With its experts and partners, JACOBB offers highly accessible services to provide information and support the needs executives of SMEs, start-ups and organizations, whether to help them take their first step in AI or to push further what they’ve already accomplished. These services are:
• Technical assistance: Through service mandates, JACOBB experts can collaborate with the customer’s internal staff, at each phase of the project concerning the feasibility study, data analysis, algorithm design, AI application development, etc.
• Applied AI research: Depending on the project’s needs and its maturity level, JACOBB researchers apply various machine learning expertise to learning expertise to mitigate the technological uncertainties and allow clients to quickly integrate AI and data science tools into their products and/or processes. For the realization of such projects, various grants can be obtained to cover a significant portion of the research costs (NSERC, RSRI, MEI, MITACS, NRC-IRAP, etc.).
• Information and dissemination: The AI’s potential transformation remains unknown to most SMEs. JACOBB wishes to play a determining role of broadcaster and popularized, particularly through conferences and in-company specialized training