Thursday, June 23, 2016

How Google is Remaking Itself as a “Machine Learning First” Company — Backchannel

Excerpt from a Steven Levy overview of Google's machine learning modus operandi

"Google’s new challenge is shifting its engineering workforce so everyone is familiar, if not adept, at machine learning. It’s a goal pursued now by many other companies, notably Facebook, which is just as gaga about ML and deep learning as Google is. The competition to hire recent graduates in the field is fierce, and Google tries hard to maintain its early lead; for years, the joke in academia was that Google hires top students even when it doesn’t need them, just to deny them to the competition. (The joke misses the point that Google does need them.) “My students, no matter who, always get an offer from Google.” says Domingos. And things are getting tougher: just last week, Google announced it will open a brand new machine-learning research lab in Zurich, with a whole lot of workstations to fill.
But since academic programs are not yet producing ML experts in huge numbers, retraining workers is a necessity. And that isn’t always easy, especially at a company like Google, with many world-class engineers who have spent a lifetime achieving wizardry through traditional coding."
How Google is Remaking Itself as a “Machine Learning First” Company — Backchannel
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