Microsoft, hardware making giant, has bought Canada-based startup Maluuba, which is focused on Artificial Intelligence and innovation. Maluuba is a startup which was founded by University of Waterloo grads Sam Pasupalak and Kaheer Suleman. The two grads participated in the 2012 San Francisco Startup Battlefield competition of TechCrunch as well.
Maluuba knows it aims are not easy
The startup Maluuba is focusing on natural language processing, building computers that can think like people. The company is in service of following general (AI) artificial intelligence. The Canada-based company is focusing on using reinforcement learning and deep learning to increase the effectiveness and the proficiency of computer-based systems that can make decisions and answer questions.
The software making giant noted in a blog post that the work of Maluuba is works towards the broad goal of the hardware maker and make artificial intelligence more useful and accessible to the general public. The Montreal-based company focuses on improving the ability of the computer to understand what the user is reading, to understand the natural dialog between individuals and to get even more better at tasks like finding information when they have a gap in their own knowledge, common-sense reasoning and better memory. These problems are not easy to tackle nor are they small.
The startup company notes that it became quite apparent that the only and best way to make some progress was to tap into the significant resources that were made available from a bigger partner.
Microsoft and Maluuba goals align when it comes to AI
In its announcement of the news, Maluuba said that the goals of Microsoft and the startup company are almost the same in case of AI. The Canada-based startup firm added that the hardware maker offers infrastructure, access to billions of users and talent support in addition to the financial resources.
The expertise of Montreal in artificial intelligence is gaining worldwide attention. Recently, the search giant opened a research office in Montreal. This research office of Google will be focused in AI. Also, the search giant invested funds in local academic efforts that are focused on the same area.
Yoshua Bengio, leading global AI researcher, is heading the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms and is a Maluuba advisor. While announcing the acquisition of Maluuba in a blog post, Harry Shum, Microsoft EVP of AI, notes that Bengio is joining the hardware making giant as an advisor as well.
It is a pretty significant thing that the tech giant is getting the expertise and advice of Bengio when all other major technology based companies are investing a significant amount of money and resources in Artificial intelligence research and product development.
Early in its life cycle, at its Disrupt release, the Canadian startup impressed everyone by demonstrating a virtual assistant product, which could handle a broad range of domains. For intelligent software, cross domain expertise is quite difficult. To date, the best and most successful efforts in AI have focused on creating good results with a narrow domain focus, however, in terms of product breakthroughs, the more general focus of Maluuba is the golden carrot for several companies in tech.