Apple launches residency program for those interested in the future of AI


Apple is ramping up its focus on artificial intelligence.
Photo: Scott Schaut/Mansfield Memorial Museum

Apple has launched a new artificial intelligence and machine learning residency program for people from other STEM disciplines wanting to “dip their toe” into the world of cutting edge machine learning.

Michael Rennaker, manager of Apple in Research Academia (ARIA), announced the new initiative on Twitter. The program seeks experts in fields like design, linguistics, neuroscience, and psychology whose interests may cross over with AI.

As Apple explains on its Machine Learning Research page:

“Apple’s on-device machine learning enables intelligent experiences across our integrated hardware, software, and services. As these intelligent experiences solve our users’ problems across disciplines, the need for domain experts to understand machine learning grows. This is why the AI/ML residency program aims to immerse these experts in the ML space.

The year-long program will welcome residents with STEM graduate degrees or equivalent industry experience, software development backgrounds, and niche expertise — like design, linguistics, neuroscience, or psychology. The program aims to invest in the resident’s technical and theoretical machine learning development, and help advance their professional careers.”

Residents will get the chance to attend special personalized machine learning and AI courses at Apple. They will also be assigned an Apple mentor, be connected with other residents on the program, and get involved with “high-impact” projects. You can find out more about the application process here. Various residencies are available around the world, starting summer 2021.

Ramping up its AI efforts

Until a few years, Apple was widely viewed as lagging behind rivals when it comes to machine learning. Despite Apple being, well, Apple, its approach to ML was considered detrimental in terms of bringing on board new researchers. Since then, Apple has worked to strengthen its links with academia.

Residencies, while just one example of that, can help. It cements Apple’s AI ambitions as being broader than just what goes into the next version of iOS. That, in turn, can help it recruit the best talent in the field.