In many ways, the tech world’s AI arms race is really a fight for talent. Skilled engineers are in short supply, and Silicon Valley’s biggest companies are competing to nab the best minds from academia and rival firms. Which is why it makes sense that Apple has announced it’s expanding its offices in Seattle, where much of its AI and machine learning work is done.
Seattle is home not only to the University of Washington and its renowned computer science department, but also the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Microsoft and Amazon are headquartered nearby, and AI startups are finding a home in the region, too. Last August, Apple even bought a Seattle-based machine learning and artificial intelligence startup named Turi for an estimated $200 million, and the team is said to be moving into Apple’s offices at Two Union Square as part of the expansion.
Carlos Guestrin, a University of Washington professor, former Turi CEO, and now director of machine learning at Apple, told GeekWire: “There’s a great opportunity for AI in Seattle.”
Guesterin said Apple’s Seattle engineers would be looking at both long-term and near-term AI research, developing new features for the company’s products across “the whole spectrum.” He added: “We’re trying to find the best people who are excited about AI and machine learning — excited about research and thinking long term but also bringing those ideas into products that impact and delight our customers.”
As part of the news, the University of Washington also announced a $1 million endowed professorship in AI and machine learning named after Guesterin. That’s one way to give back to the AI community.