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Apple makes smart hire, appoints first director of AI

Carnegie Mellon University professor Russ Salakhutdinov will lead the company’s AI research team.

By CBR Staff Writer

Apple has hired Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) professor Russ Salakhutdinov to lead its team working on artificial intelligence (AI).

Salakhutdinov is an associate professor in the Machine Learning Department, School of Computer Science at CMU.

His research interests include deep learning, probabilistic graphical models, and large-scale optimisation.

In a tweet, Salakhutdinov said he is excited to join Apple as a director of AI research, even as he continues his work at the university.



Prior to joining CMU earlier this year, Salakhutdinov worked at the University of Toronto and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Google, Microsoft, Samsung, DARPA, and Raytheon BBN have been funding his research.

Apple is working to reclaim lost ground against competitors like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google in machine learning.

In August this year, Apple acquired Seattle-based AI and machine learning startup Turi for about $200m.

Other AI-related acquisitions of Apple include machine learning startup Perceptio and natural language processing company VocalIQ.

Last year, Bloomberg reported that Apple’s culture of secrecy made it difficult for the company to recruit technical talent from academic institutions.

Research carried out by Accenture and Frontier Economics revealed that AI is poised to double annual economic growth rate in 12 developed economies and increase labor productivity by about 40% by 2035.

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