October 12, 2017 4 min

Pillars of Montreal Academic Community Join Element AI

Dr. Denis Therien and Dr. Valérie Bécaert are joining Element AI to strengthen academic collaborations and support in-house fundamental research in order to make AI accessible to all organizations

MONTREAL, Oct. 13, 2017- Element AI, an artificial intelligence company that delivers groundbreaking AI solutions, announced today the strategic hiring of Dr. Denis Therien and Dr. Valérie Bécaert, well-known leaders in the scientific community. They are joining Element AI to help promote its non predatory model and truly make AI accessible to all organizations.

Dr. Denis Therien comes to Element AI as the former CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research) Vice-President of Research and Partnerships, after serving as Vice Principal of Research and International Relations at McGill University, from 2005 to 2010. Dr. Therien was awarded a James McGill Chair in 2002 and the Forschungpsreise (research prize) from the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation in 2000. He has published over 100 research articles on computational complexity in top-tier journals and is an accomplished expert in his field.

"Leaving academia for the private sector is an extraordinary step in my career," said Dr.Therien. "Element AI's novel view of enabling business to interact with the research community is the perfect balance to achieve the next level of my career and continue giving back to the larger academic community. I am very excited to play an important part in redefining and solidifying this new model of collaboration." Dr. Therien continued, "Element AI's social consciousness and vision of building a better society, both here and abroad, was a deciding factor in making the leap as this outlook perfectly aligns with my own interests."

Dr. Valérie Bécaert began her career as a researcher in the field of life cycle analysis, a powerful tool modeling the potential impact of human activities on our environment. She was Director of CIRAIG, the international center of expertise on life cycle analysis, and co-founder of CIRODD, the interdisciplinary center for the operationalization of sustainable development. Dr. Bécaert then joined the Institute of Data Valorization (IVADO) as Director of the partnerships.

"I strongly believe that connecting strong fundamental research to real business challenges is the key to being a world leader in AI," said Dr. Bécaert. "Over the last two years, I extended the reach of Montreal's hub to build strong relationships and networks. Element AI is setting the pace in Montreal's AI hub, and there is much to do. I am ecstatic to be part of this amazing team."

Element AI solves the world's most difficult problems for global organizations that require new technologies to leap ahead of their competitors. Serial entrepreneurs Jean-François Gagné and Nicolas Chapados, Real Ventures and Yoshua Bengio, a co-father of deep learning technology, co-founded Element AI in October 2016 to empower industry with the massive scale of academic AI innovation Bengio was driving at the world-leading Montreal Institute of Learning Algorithms (MILA).

Together with MILA, one of the leading centers of AI research in the world, Element AI pioneered a unique model of academic cooperation they have now replicated to many other institutes. This model provides Element AI with insight, talent, and cutting-edge research that matches or exceeds even the largest tech corporations' reach and budgets. Element AI's research capabilities currently includes a lab of more than 40 researchers and a network of 25 fellows spanning across Canada.

Element AI Chief Science Officer Nicolas Chapados said, "As Element AI expands globally, we're seeking out the best and brightest to engage in active collaborations that will help us solve the world's most difficult problems. The addition of Denis and Valérie to the growing Element AI team of world-renowned scientists will undoubtedly advance our mission of developing new capabilities with leading institutions and renowned academics. We couldn't be more honored and excited to have them on the team. With Denis and Valérie's help, we plan to grow our research capabilities to more than 50 scientists and dozens of fellows around the world by year's end."

About Element AI:

Element AI delivers groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence solutions to enterprise companies, bringing together the best AI experts and top entrepreneurs to produce next generation AI capabilities for any organization. Element AI is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec and is funded by leading investors including BDC Capital, Data Collective, Fidelity Investments Canada, Hanwha, Intel Capital, Microsoft Ventures, National Bank, NVIDIA GPU Ventures, and Real Ventures. https://www.elementai.com/

For further information: media@elementai.com