Two innovating Québec SMEs, Irosoft and Lexum, both well known in Canadian legal circles, are joining forces today to develop technology that leverages artificial intelligence to open the way to exploiting very large data sets (“Big Data”) while ensuring the protection of the personal information that they contain.
At present, Lexum and Irosoft are conducting research on possible applications for machine learning and natural language processing technology in management of personal information contained in unstructured texts. The Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO) at the Université de Montréal has provided the two companies with an opportunity to work together with the specific goal of accelerating knowledge transfer and developing innovative products. This cooperative venture with the Department of Computer Sciences and Operations Research at the Université de Montréal targets developing advanced applications to process personal information contained in large, relatively unstructured document data sets.
Various types of personal information are contained in public and internal legal documents, as well as in the private documents of companies, whether they are operating in law, health care, insurance or finance. The fact that such sets of documents contain personal information raises various issues, but also creates opportunities that are worthwhile exploiting. In some contexts, the information must be depersonalized (redacted) in order to protect the anonymity of the parties before the data can be enhanced and used. In other cases, identifying personal information upgrades unstructured data sets by providing research filters and new access points. The applications in view range from automated document processing programs to alerting and decision-support tools.
The data that will be the focus of the project go beyond people’s names and could also include dates, administrative and financial identifiers, names of educational institutions, place names, professional designations, and so on. The challenge is in developing tools for processing personal information in the various different contexts mentioned above.
The assets of Lexum and Irosoft lie in accessing large data sets, experience in processing such corpuses and specialized know-how. Those resources, combined with the expertise in machine learning and automated natural language processing of the laboratories associated with IVADO, will make it possible to meet this challenge. Legal and business communities can anticipate major benefits from this type of collaboration.
Alain Lavoie, President and co-founder of Irosoft, notes: “I am proud to be making this Lexum-Irosoft announcement, which shows that, by joining forces, it is possible to occupy an enviable strategic position in the world of artificial intelligence. This type of cooperation between local SMEs should be more commonplace. IVADO is clearly an important player that will create this type of synergy and grow Québec expertise here and internationally”.
Daniel Poulin, President of Lexum, points out: “Irosoft and Lexum both have long experience in automated processing of large sets of texts, and they both export their solutions to a broad array of foreign markets. The cooperation with the Université de Montréal will allow us to go further. We are happy to be working with the best”.
“We are delighted to be part of this partnership with Lexum and Irosoft, two reputed legal services companies. This collaboration will contribute to the training of a new generation of data scientists and to consolidate the digital expertise offered for the management of private information” said Gilles Savard, CEO of IVADO.
Founded by the Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal, IVADO’s mission is to bring together industry professionals and academic researchers to develop cutting-edge expertise in data science, operational research and artificial intelligence. In concrete terms, IVADO accelerates knowledge exchange and sharing among specialists, partners, researchers and students in its network.
IVADO provides a bridge between various areas of academic expertise and the needs of companies, whether they are multinationals or start-ups. With over 900 affiliated academics (researchers, post-doctoral researchers, PhD students and research officers), IVADO is a hub for advanced multidisciplinary skills in statistical analysis, business intelligence, deep learning, applied mathematics, data searching and cybersecurity.
Lexum designs and operates online information delivery products. It began in 1993, collaborating with the Supreme Court of Canada to publish the Court’s decisions on the Internet. Today, Lexum is most well-known for the services it provides to the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) regarding the design, development and operation of the www.canlii.org site, which is the most frequently consulted and highly appreciated legal research tool in Canada. Lexum’s clients include private publishers, law firms, unions, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations.
Founded in 1995, Irosoft is a leading developer of tools and products helping legal professionals perform routine tasks more efficiently, and also of products and projects for adding value to organizations’ data and documents. In addition, Irosoft’s specialized, highly experienced personnel provides advisory services in information management and digital conversion. To date, over 200 national and international organizations – government departments and agencies, private companies – have used Irosoft’s services in large-scale digital content management projects.