20 October 2016
Apple recently hired Ruslan Salakhutdinov, an associate professor in the deep learning department at Carnegie Mellon University, to oversee its AI research. Salakhutdinov would in the first place work on improving Siri and maybe releasing Apple’s first AI-related software. But with Apple backing out of building a driverless car and focussing solely on delivering autonomous technology to automakers, Salakhutdinov could well become involved. Salakhutdinov can be seen as the prince of deep learning and may become the king of Apple deep learning.
In 2006, when Ruslan Salakhutdinov was a PhD student, he and his Artificial intelligence professor Geoffrey Hinton, published two papers that demonstrated how very large neural networks, once too slow to be effective, could work much more quickly than before. The new nets had more layers of computation, they were “deep”. After this the method was rebranded as “deep learning”. When other researchers began throwing big data sets at them their systems began beating traditional machine learning systems that had been tweaked for decades.
The new method was beating traditional AI in every critical task: recognizing speech, characterizing images, generating natural, readable sentences. Now all the major companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft are using the same type of deep learning.
The ‘acquisition’ of Salakhutdinov comes at a time when Siri has been criticized for having fallen behind other automated assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, while Google is also betting big on its Google Assistant. This year Apple deep learning also got a boost when Apple acquired machine learning companies Turi and Tuplejump.
Salakhutdinov reported on Twitter he was “excited about joining Apple as a director of AI research in addition to my work at CMU”. Now the question remains how Salakhutdinov will combine both jobs and if Apple will start publishing deep learning findings now they started hiring neutral academics. In the past Apple never published any research papers, while it is Carnegie Mellon’ bread and butter to do so. Salakhutdinov’ recent CMU papers you can find here: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rsalakhu/
Salakhutdinov followed his excited tweet by stating he is looking for new members to join his team. Presently, Apple has 56 open positions that list artificial intelligence and 129 that include machine learning. You can find them here: https://jobs.apple.com/us/search?pr=1#mixes&ss=52662972&t=0&so=&lo=0*USA&pN=0&openJobId=52662972
News tags: Apple,