Apple Just Hired This Artificial Intelligence Expert

October 17, 2016, 8:25 PM UTC
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Apple continues to bulk up on artificial intelligence and data crunching smarts.

Ruslan Salakhutdinov, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University and its computer science school’s machine learning department, said Monday via Twitter that he is joining Apple (AAPL) as its director of A.I. research. He will continue to work at Carnegie Mellon while at Apple.


Among Salakhutdinov’s areas of research is the hot field of deep learning, an A.I. technique in which software systems called neural networks are given vast quantities of data to find patterns within.

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The rise of cloud computing—with its ability for companies to more easily store tremendous amounts of data—coupled with the use of graphics processing units (GPUs) and specialized computer chips to process the information has led to big breakthroughs in deep learning. For example, computers have learned to spot images like cats in photos and recognize speech.

Many digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Cortana, and Amazon’s (AMZN) Alexa are powered in some ways by artificial intelligence to better understand people’s voices and answer questions and act on their requests.

Apple’s new hire is just the latest from the technology company that some A.I. experts have said is behind other tech companies like Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB) when it comes to A.I. talent and capabilities.

In August, Apple bought a machine-learning startup Turi in a deal reported to be worth roughly $200 million. Just one month later, Apple purchased another machine-learning startup Tuplejump, but the deal’s value was not disclosed.

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Fortune contacted Apple for more information and will update this story if it responds.

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