Google announced that it has formed a partnership with the Artificial Intelligence research teams at Oxford University to “accelerate” its efforts in AI, and has hired seven founders of two AI startups out of the university.
Google acquired AI company DeepMind earlier this year for reportedly somewhere in the $400 million to $500 million range, and it’s the result of that – Google DeepMind – that is doing the partnering with Oxford and adding the founders of Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factory to its team.
“Prof Nando de Freitas, Prof Phil Blunsom, Dr Edward Grefenstette and Dr Karl Moritz Hermann, who teamed up earlier this year to co-found Dark Blue Labs, are four world leading experts in the use of deep learning for natural language understanding,” says Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind and Vice President of Engineering at Google. “They will be spearheading efforts to enable machines to better understand what users are saying to them.”
“Also joining the DeepMind team will be Dr Karen Simonyan, Max Jaderberg and Prof Andrew Zisserman, one of the world’s foremost experts on computer vision systems, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and the only person to have been awarded the prestigious Marr Prize three times,” Hassabis adds. “As co-founders of Vision Factory, their aim was to improve visual recognition systems using deep learning. Dr Simonyan and Prof Zisserman developed one of the winning systems at the recent 2014 ImageNet competition, which is regarded as the most competitive and prestigious image recognition contest in the world.”
While the three professors are joining Google, they’ll also be holding joint appointments at Oxford, and will continue to spend part of their time there. Google will also be making an undisclosed, but “substantial” donation to create a partnership with Oxford’s computer science and engineering departments. This will include an internship program, and a series of lectures and workshops.
Image via Google