Google Research Australia hub takes shape as leaders appointed

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Google Research Australia hub takes shape as leaders appointed

Under its billion-dollar Digital Future Initiative.

Google has appointed two leaders to oversee the development of artificial intelligence at its Sydney-based research hub, Google Research Australia.

Google Australia engineering site lead Grace Chung and professor Peter Bartlett will jointly lead the hub as part of the search engine giant's $1 billion Digital Future Initiative, first announced in November last year to build digital infrastructure, research and partnerships in Australia.

Chung is one of Google’s most experienced Australian engineers and research scientists, while Bartlett is a professor UC's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and the Department of Statistics University of California at Berkeley.

Taking on the new title of head of Google Research Australia, Chung said in a Google Australia blog post “we’ll work to use and advance AI and machine learning to tackle important challenges for Australians and people around the world”. 

Chung added the growing team “are excited to take on this opportunity and to start finding new ways for AI to make important breakthroughs in a range of fields.”

She added that Google is “looking forward to partnering with some of our top universities to not only make advancements in AI, but help grow and nurture the broader research ecosystem in our country.”

Professor Bartlett said: “We've got plans for a diverse range of research directions in AI and machine learning, with the ambitious goal of enabling intelligent systems that are more effective and that we can rely on.”

Chung said Google Research Australia is now “getting to work recruiting”, with Australian National University professor Steve Blackburn joining as a research scientist.

Chung said “jobs in research have often been limited because of geographical location and competition from overseas”.

“So, it’s fantastic to be able to provide new opportunities for Australia’s top research talent to utilise their expertise here at home for the benefit of Australians.”

Professor Blackburn tweeted that “my move will mean more of the great collaborations I already have within Google, including with the V8 team, working on high-impact open source code bases solving really interesting problems.”

“I look forward to working with academic researchers around Australia as the lab grows.

“Finally, as a member of Google Research, I'm able to continue my affiliation with ANU and supervise my wonderful students.”

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