Dr. Yoshua Bengio


Video of the Researcher

Lab name





Full name

Dr. Yoshua Bengio


Understanding what is intelligence and how to embed intelligence in machines

Type of researcher

Principal Investigator

Introduce yourself, your experience and your credentials

Yoshua Bengio is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in artificial intelligence and a pioneer in deep learning.

Since 1993, he has been a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operational Research at the Université de Montréal. In addition to holding the Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms, he is the founder and scientific director of Mila, the Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence, the world’s largest university-based research group in deep learning.

His contribution to research is undeniable. In 2018, Yoshua Bengio is the computer scientist who collected the largest number of new citations in the world, thanks to his many publications.

Describe your research

My research is about artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is about designing systems that have intelligence comparable to ours. One of the big questions is how do we put knowledge into computers so that they can be intelligent.

What my field of research has done to answer this question is allow us to realize we can actually provide knowledge to computers by allowing them to learn from examples. That’s called machine learning. Then what we do in deep learning is a form of machine learning inspired by the brain and cognition. That’s in turn neural networks which involve inspiration from how neurons compute in the brain.

Deep learning specifically is an approach to neural network where we focus on the notion of representation. In other words, we think that what allows our brain to be smart is that it discovers good ways to represent information: to go from pixels to high-level concepts and then be able to manipulate those high-level concepts.

That’s what I’ve been working on in the last few decades.

Explain its significance

It turns out that this is actually working and it’s changing the world. One motivation for this work is that it really has given a lot of competence to computers so that they can now understand images texts sounds much better than before.

They can even be creative to synthesize new images and new sounds and music. But at the same time, we have to be careful about how that technology is being deployed. One of the things I care about is making sure that scientists and decision-makers feel responsible about how these new technologies are gonna change the world. We want to make sure that the world has changed in positive ways.

Finally, one motivation for this whole thing is the  pure beauty of science, understanding what is intelligence because intelligence is something very special about humans and something we want to understand to understand who we are.

It’s our intelligence, it’s animal intelligence and the kind of intelligence we can put in the future in machines. Maybe all of these forms of intelligence can be explained by a few simple principles like the laws of physics but the laws of intelligence.


Institution name

Université de Montréal

Type of institution



Information and cultural industries

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