Vancouver will be home to a new artificial intelligence (AI) research centre focusing on computer vision, Borealis AI announced this morning.

Building off its recent investments in the Canadian AI ecosystem, the new research centre will help train computers to see, process and understand the visual world, the company explained in a press release. It is expected to open later this fall. Research efforts are to be headed by Greg Mori, director of computing science at Simon Fraser University. He will be joined by University of British Columbia professor Leonid Sigal, who will serve as an academic advisor.

“The visual world is such a rich source of information, but what’s missing is the holistic view that Borealis AI can provide with its data sources and expertise,” said Mori. “I’m excited to work with experts in so many disciplines, like reinforcement learning and natural language processing.”

The company said Mori’s research into machine learning techniques such as semantic segmentation – a series of machine learning techniques that labels every object in a natural image down to the pixel level – complements their research efforts perfectly.

“Applications of computer vision are new to the financial services industry. We’re eager to apply this technology to tackle previously unsolvable problems that will benefit Canadian communities,” said Foteini Agrafioti, chief science officer of RBC and head of Borealis AI in a statement. “Prof. Mori and Prof. Sigal are global leaders in the field of computer vision both in industry and academia, and I’m excited to see what we can achieve together.”

Sigal said Borealis AI is at the “forefront of the Canadian AI ecosystem.”

“I’m excited for collaborative research opportunities building on common scientific interests, which through RBC, will have the ability to create a positive and tangible impact on people and their everyday lives,” he said.

In February, Borealis AI announced the launch of the Borealis AI Graduate Fellowship Program, which will offer financial support to domestic and international students looking to pursue graduate-level work in the fields of machine learning or AI at a Canadian university. Submissions for the Borealis AI Fellowship Program close Sept. 28

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