Apple Expands in Microsoft’s Territory

Apple Expands in Microsoft's Territory
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Apple is planning on significantly expanding its Seattle, Washington-based artificial intelligence and machine learning initiatives, according to a new report.

The increased efforts, which will include expanding both physical office space and workforce, will help foster the satellite office’s endeavors as a hub for AI and machine learning research and development. The Seattle hub already occupies two floors of the Two Union Square tower, with plans to acquire more floors in the building, GeekWire reported.

“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,” Machine Learning Director Carlos Guestrin told Geekwire.

Washington’s largest city is already becoming a center for AI and machine learning initiatives. Along with Apple, other tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and a slew of startups are focusing their effort on technological breakthroughs — which should cement the region’s importance for the field. Other tech giants are also moving into Seattle, hoping to poach some of the engineering talent present in the region. “There’s a great opportunity for AI in Seattle,” Guestrin told GeekWire. “It’s the place to do it.”

Guestrin, who is also a University of Washington professor, has a history in the AI and machine learning field in Seattle. Before Apple, he was formerly the founder of machine learning startup Turi, which Apple acquired in August 2016. As part of the Seattle office expansion, Turi’s engineering team will reportedly be moving into the Two Union Square skyscraper. Apple’s acquisition of Turi also made possible a UW $1 million endowed professorship in AI and machine learning, which the university named after Guestrin.

While we’re not sure what form Apple’s increased AI and machine learning efforts will materialize as, it’s safe to say that the Seattle hub — who reportedly works “extensively” with Apple HQ in Cupertino — will be an integral part of it.

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