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Microsoft acquires Maluuba

AI startup Malluuba joins Microsoft
Microsoft buys Maluuba
The Montreal-based deep learning startup joins the Redmond giant to improve its artificial intelligence-driven reading and writing capabilities thanks to the "state-of-the-art technology of machine literacy" that is now owned by Microsoft.

Everyone takes artificial intelligence seriously these days, and Microsoft has been acquiring various assets to help the company improve its capabilities in this field for a while now. This week, the time has come for Maluuba, a Canadian-based startup that runs, according to Microsoft, "one of the world’s most impressive deep learning research labs for natural language understanding."

Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence and Research Group executive vice president Harru Shum writes that "with this acquisition we are, as Wayne Gretzky would say, skating to where the puck will be next — machine reading and writing." In the long term, Microsoft aims to take AI-powered virtual assistant tools to the next level, but there is an incredible number of scenarios where conversational AI can be useful.

Last month, Microsoft launched the MS Marco dataset for machine reading, which is a set of no less than 100,000 questions and answers that can be used in the effort to create systems capable of reading and answering questions as humanly as possible. Maluuba has recently made available its own datasets for reading comprehension and conversational dialogue systems as well.

As it usually happens with such deals, the financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

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Codrut Nistor, 2017-01-14 (Update: 2017-01-14)