Maluuba partners with McGill University's Reasoning & Learning Lab to Teach Common Sense to Machines


We're pleased to announce a new partnership with McGill University's Reasoning and Learning Lab to teach machines to understand common sense, a complex and challenging aspect of natural language understanding.

We will be working with Dr. Jackie CK Cheung, assistant professor from McGill's Reasoning and Learning Lab on his research to develop computational methods for understanding text and speech.  The goal is to enable a machine to generate language that is fluent and appropriate to the context

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. "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.

This research project is ongoing with the objective of publishing an academic paper in Spring 2017.

Read coverage in Montreal In Technology

Read the press release.


Research, PartnersPaul Gray