The UW’s Guestrin Endowed Professorship in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is bolstered by a $1 million endowment stemming from Apple’s acquisition of a local tech company.
The University of Washington has established a professorship to focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning, bolstered by a $1 million endowment stemming from Apple’s acquisition of a local tech company.
The Guestrin Endowed Professorship in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be part of the university’s computer science and engineering (CSE) department, and is named for professor and entrepreneur Carlos Guestrin.
Guestrin, who holds the Amazon professor of machine learning title at the UW, was recruited to the city in 2012 with a little help from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The funding for the endowment comes as a result of Apple’s acquisition of local startup Turi last year. Guestrin started Turi, previously known as GraphLab and Dato, as an open-source data analysis and graphing project when he worked at Carnegie Mellon University. He carried on the project at the UW and eventually spun out the company.
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Apple reportedly paid $200 million to buy Turi, though neither company has confirmed the sale price. Proceeds from the sale were used to fund the endowment.
Apple’s acquisition of Turi and its 2014 acquisition of Union Bay Networks form the base of its engineering office in Seattle, which is getting ready to expand in its downtown location. Guestrin is on partial leave from the UW as he leads the machine learning team at Apple.
The endowed professorship means there will be research funding available every year for the university’s research into artificial intelligence, said Ed Lazowska, who holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in the CSE department.
“It’s a wonderful outcome from a UW startup,” he said.