Amazon Recruits Top AI Expert To Improve Its Web Services

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Google's parent company Alphabet is not only heavily investing in artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud storage services but is also improving the latter by combining it with the former. According to the Mountain View-based tech giant, AI is the future of cloud storage and its main competitor Amazon agrees. Namely, it was only last month that reports on Amazon implementing AI into its Web Services in order to combat cloud competition from Google have surfaced online, and it seems that the Seattle-based company has now made another serious statement of intent regarding the cloud storage business.

As it turns out, Amazon has recruited Alex Smola, a renowned machine learning scientist from the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) who also happens to be Yahoo and Google's research alumni. Mr. Smola will now soon be running the so-called Cloud Machine Learning Platform at Amazon Web Services. As he put it, his main goal at the AWS will be to simplify machine using and integrate it in as many Amazon services as possible. Does the idea of easy-to-use and multifunctional machine learning sound familiar? It definitely does as it's the exact same thing Google has been trying to accomplish for quite some time now.

Furthermore, in his open letter to the community which was originally only addressed to his CMU team before leaking on Weibo, Smola assured his friends, students, and colleagues that he and his AWS team won't be exclusively profit-oriented. "We will try to give back to the academic community," said the machine learning expert, explaining how he plans on contributing to it through open source projects and such. While he admitted he still can't share any details on his future endeavors, he promised that "good things will happen."

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Smola was employed at the CMU for the last four years. The scientist is currently in the process of moving from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the San Francisco Bay Area where his new Amazon lab will be located. He's expected to start his new duties in a few months though he formally won't leave the CMU until August of 2017. He'll formally be on leave of absence until then in order to ensure that all of his current Ph.D. students are taken care of.