Apple’s A.I. hub in Seattle is about to get a lot bigger

By

Siri
Siri needs better machine learning skills.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple plans to deepen its roots in Microsoft’s backyard by expanding operations at its Seattle center that specializes in AI and machine learning technology.

Details about the new Seattle hub were shared by Apple in a recent interview that also announced the iPhone-maker has created a $1 million endowed professorship in artificial intelligence at the University of Washington.

By partnering with the university, Apple hopes it will be able to attract more experts and make better connections through UW and the community. Apple will lease two additional floors at the Two Union Square building in in downtown Seattle, allowing its recently acquired Turi team to move in.

In an interview with GeekWire, Apple’s director of machine learning, Carlos Guestrin, says the company plans to hire as quickly as it can find people that meet its high expectations.

“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,” said Guestrin.

Other teams in the building will work on products like Maps, iCloud and iTunes. Teams in Seattle collaborate extensively with groups at Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, building machine learning into Apple’s upcoming products.

Guestrin revealed that the team focus on long term research that can be used in 3 to 10 years, but it also looks at short term projects too.

“We work on the whole spectrum,” Guestrin noted. “It’s not just about doing research, but it’s about the technology transfer and how that gets embedded into experiences that customers love.”