MONTREAL, QC--(Marketwired - Dec 8, 2016) - MALUUBA, a Canadian deep-learning company helping machines think, reason and communicate with human-like intelligence, today announced that it is partnering with McGill University's Reasoning and Learning Lab to teach machines to understand common sense, a complex and challenging aspect of natural language understanding.
Since opening its deep learning lab in Montreal in January, Maluuba has been building the largest deep learning lab focused on natural language understanding in North America. Through this partnership, Maluuba will collaborate with Dr. Jackie CK Cheung, assistant professor from McGill's Reasoning and Learning Lab in the School of Computer Science. Cheung's research seeks to develop computational methods for understanding text and speech with the goal to enable a machine to generate language that is fluent and appropriate to the context.
"Montreal is a global hub for AI research and we are proud to partner with McGill University to provide this opportunity for research," said Kaheer Suleman, co-founder and head of Maluuba Research. "Teaching machines to understand common sense will take the combined effort of leading academic researchers with the resources and data that a company like Maluuba can provide."
Teaching machines to become literate is challenging due to the many subtle nuances of language. People learn language through exposure and experience over time. Consider the statement, "The bee landed on the flower because it had pollen." Humans know that "it" in this context refers to the flower. Common sense, while natural for people, is very difficult for machines because they don't have a groundedness in the world around us nor do they have experiences living and interacting in that environment.
"Human-machine interaction using natural language is moving from the realm of science fiction to becoming reality. We can interact with chatbots or even talk to devices in our homes. Conversational interactions with current systems have been constrained, as it can be very difficult for machines to understand the subtleties of language and the broad range of words, terms and phrases that humans use," said Dr. Cheung of McGill University. "Partnering with Maluuba provides our students with the data and resources needed to assist in our research and to solve this problem. Most importantly, we're able to demonstrate how our research can be put into practice to drive even more AI innovation."
This collaboration was recently awarded an NSERC Engage grant from the Canadian Government. This program supports focused R&D collaborations between university researchers and industrial partners such as Maluuba.
In addition to supporting this project with McGill, Maluuba collaborates with the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms lab led by Yoshua Bengio at Université de Montréal.
This research project is ongoing with the objective of publishing an academic paper in Spring 2017. For more information, visit: http://www.maluuba.com/research/.
Maluuba Inc. is a global, natural language understanding company founded in 2011. The company's goal is to create a world where intelligent machines work hand-in-hand with humans to advance the collective intelligence of the human species. In 2016, Maluuba opened a research lab in Montreal dedicated to solving fundamental problems in language understanding for innovative products that will further advance AI systems. For more information, visit: www.maluuba.com.