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Google has created a new AI research group in Europe to focus on machine learning (GOOG)


Google Zurich

Google announced in a blog post on Thursday that it has set up a new AI research group in Europe to focus on machine learning (ML).

Machine learning is a field of computer science that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.

Google Research, Europe — as the group is known — is based out of Google's office in Zurich, Switzerland, which is home to Google’s largest engineering office outside the US.

Google said the group, which is expected to grow to over 100 people in the coming years, will focus on three key areas: machine intelligence, natural language processing and understanding, and machine perception.

Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft are all investing heavily in these areas as they look to make their platforms and services more intelligent.

Google Research, Europe will be part of the wider Google Research operation, which includes thousands of people worldwide. However, unlike many of the other divisions, its remit will be to focus purely on machine learning, which can, for example, help a machine to understand whether a photo shows a cat or a dog.

Researchers at Google Research, Europe, are likely to collaborate with scientists at Google DeepMind — a London based AI research lab that's building general purpose self-learning algorithms.

Google Research Europe will be led by Emmanuel Mogenet. In a blog post published Thursday, Mogenet said:

"Google Research, Europe, will foster an environment where software engineers and researchers specialising in ML will have the opportunity to develop products and conduct research right here in Europe, as part of the wider efforts at Google."

Elsewhere in his post, he said Google is using machine intelligence to power products that are used by hundreds of millions of people a day including Translate, Photo Search and Smart Reply for Inbox.

Google machine learning

"One of the things that enables these advances is the extensive collaboration between the Google researchers in our offices across the world, all contributing their unique knowledge and disseminating ideas in state-of-the-art Machine Learning (ML) technologies and techniques in order to develop useful tools and products."

Mogenet added that Europe is home to some of the world’s "best technical universities, making it an ideal place to build a top-notch research team."

Google engineers in Zurich have previously developed the engine that powers Knowledge Graph, as well as the conversation engine that powers the Google Assistant in Allo.

Elsewhere, Facebook is also taking advantage of the academic expertise on offer in Europe with a dedicated AI research lab in Paris.

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