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23 October 2014

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Professor Blunsom part of collaboration with Google DeepMind

Members of the Department of Computer Science, including St Hugh’s Computer Science Tutor Professor Phil Blunsom, have launched a major collaboration with Google DeepMind, a London based centre for artificial intelligence research. As part of the collaboration (which also involves three members of the Department of Engineering Science) the University will receive a significant seven figure contribution from Google to be split between the two departments. The collaboration was announced in the Financial Times on Wednesday 22 October.

Oxford Computer Science graduates Dr Edward Grefenstette and Dr Karl Moritz Hermann, together with Professors Phil Blunsom and Nando de Freitas, recently co-founded Dark Blue Labs. Their goal was to make natural languages (such as English, French or Chinese) understandable by computers, allowing machines and humans to better interact and collaboratively solve problems. Google DeepMind have recruited the four co-founders to bring this expertise to their London research lab.

Dr Gefenstette and Dr Hermann will join Google DeepMind fulltime, while Professors Blunsom and de Freitas will divide their time between DeepMind and their research at the University of Oxford. Professor Blunsom will remain on leave from his position at St Hugh’s College.

As part of the collaboration, Google DeepMind and the University of Oxford will establish a program of student internships and organise a series of joint lectures and workshops to share knowledge and expertise. These exciting collaborations underline how Google DeepMind is committed to supporting the development of strong scientific research labs and the growth of UK academia in general.

Professor Mike Wooldridge, Head of the Department of Computer Science, said: ‘Machine Learning is a technology whose time has come.  We have invested heavily in this area and we are truly excited at the prospect of what we can achieve together with Google.

‘We are extremely proud of Phil, Nando, Ed, and Karl, and truly grateful for their efforts in securing such a fantastic donation to the department, and for paving the way for future collaboration with one of the world’s leading computing companies.’

Google DeepMind are also teaming up with three members of the Department of Engineering Science, Max Jaderberg, Dr Karen Simonyan and Professor Andrew Zisserman, one of the world’s foremost experts on computer vision. They had co-founded Vision Factory, whose aim was to develop systems capable of unconstrained visual recognition of objects, actions and text in real-world environments.

St Hugh’s College is a centre of leading Computer Science study and research. Learn more about studying Computer Science at St Hugh’s.

Article credit: The University of Oxford Department of Computer Science.

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