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Druide Donates One Million Dollars to University of Montreal

December 07, 2016
Université de Montréal

Marking the 20-year anniversary of its software Antidote, as well as 50 years of University of Montreal’s Department of Computer Science and Operations Research (DIRO), Druide informatique is announcing the creation of a one-million-dollar fund for research into deep learning-based text analysis.

The Druide Fund for research in text analysis will go to MILA (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms), a laboratory lead by Professor Yoshua Bengio, a DIRO alumnus globally renowned for his spectacular breakthroughs in deep learning-based artificial intelligence. Druide has also set up the Antidote Scholarship, which will give twenty thousand dollars each year to a student or researcher as part of the Druide Fund. With its 150 researchers coming from both sides of Montreal’s Mount Royal, MILA is a leader in its field. Drawing inspiration from Silicon Valley, Professor Bengio and his team hope to make Montreal into an “AI Mountain”, a goal that Druide informatique is proud to support through the Druide Fund and the Antidote Scholarship.

Druide’s three founding shareholders, Éric Brunelle, André d’Orsonnens and Bertrand Pelletier, at the helm of the company since its creation, are all graduates of University of Montreal, as are many of their fellow druides. This donation is a way of giving back to their alma mater while encouraging the development of major applications for this revolutionary machine-learning technology.

“Automatic text analysis is a great fit for deep learning, with the capability to efficiently process large quantities of data,” explains Yoshua Bengio, director at MILA. “Thanks to the Druide Fund, we will be able to increase our text analysis budget by around 20%. We are particularly pleased to receive this contribution from a Quebec company founded by our former students whose products help so many people.”

Antidote was already a remarkable mainstream application of artificial intelligence when it launched in November 1996. Its corrector, guides and dictionaries have since benefitted from 20 years of continuous evolution, culminating in 2015 with the extension of its full capabilities to the English language. Today, more than a million people use Antidote across the French-speaking world in both professional and private settings. Druide is methodically pursuing the development of Antidote and aims to be among the first to pass the benefits of deep learning research onto its users.

Druide informatique produces and markets Antidote, the most complete writing assistance software suite available for English and French, as well as Typing Pal, the renowned typing tutorial application. Druide is also the creator of WebElixir, a quality assurance service for websites, while its subsidiary, Éditions Druide, publishes French-language literature and reference works.

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