Google has announced it will be opening its latest AI lab in Princeton, New Jersey, in January 2019. The lab will comprise a mix of faculty members, graduates, postgraduates and software engineers, and will be led by Elad Hazan and Yoram Singer, two computer science professors at Princeton University.
Google and Princeton have had a close, collaborative relationship for many years, largely due the fact that Elad Hazan and Yoram Singer both spent time working at Google. Google wants to build on these existing relationships and grow a larger ecosystem of collaboration within the machine learning (ML) field.
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"When you talk to students, and you talk to folks that aren't necessarily at a big company, you get a lot of ideas that you might have not thought of," said Irina Kofman, chief operating officer of Google AI. "With this particular opening, I'm excited to do that…exploring opportunities we might not, in our own office, be thinking about."
With a number of real-world applications to AI technology on the cusp of fruition such as self-driving cars and advanced speech recognition, turning to researchers from academic settings is becoming common practice for tech firms looking to stay ahead of the competition. Both Singer and Hazan have made significant contributions toward the optimization of ML systems and it is these kinds of accomplishments Google wants to leverage.
Commenting following the announcement, Singer said: "We feel it's a great opportunity, both for ML theorists at Princeton to benefit from exposure to real-world computing problems, and for Google to benefit from long-term, unconstrained academic research that Google may incorporate into future products."