DeepMind expands hunt for world’s top AI researchers to Toronto

Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind, Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) startup.

Jeon Heon-kyun | Getty Images

LONDON — DeepMind, the London-based artificial intelligence lab acquired by Google in 2014, has extended its search for the world’s top AI researchers to Toronto, Canada.

The company has released a job offer for a research scientist in Toronto on his website last week and confirmed to CNBC on Wednesday that he plans to build a small team in the city.

DeepMind said a member of its team already works at a Google office in Toronto.

DeepMind, which also has offices in Montreal and Edmonton, employs 51 people across the country, according to LinkedIn.

When it comes to AI research, Canada is largely considered one of the best countries in the worldas well as the United States, China and the United Kingdom

Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio— two of the three so-called “godfathers of AI” — are based in Canada, with Hinton in Toronto and Bengio in Montreal. Both have strong ties to local universities.

talent contest

DeepMind, which competes with OpenAI and Facebook AI Research, has also been busy recruit a team in New York this year. He hired Facebook AI Research (FAIR) co-founder Rob Fergus to lead the New York team last June.

While FAIR has less than 400 people, DeepMind employs around 1,000 people worldwide, the majority of whom are based at its London headquarters. The rest is split between satellite outposts in Mountain View, Calif., where Google’s headquarters are located, Alberta, Montreal and Paris.

DeepMind and FAIR have been battling to hire the best AI talent in the world for nearly a decade. They hope that these top AI researchers, who are sometimes paid around $1 million a year, will be able to create AI technology that can be exploited by Google and Facebook respectively.

James G. Williams