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Facebook snaps up NYU deep learning expert to head artificial intelligence lab

Yann LeCun is one of the leading world experts on cognition, learning and convolutional networks

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Facebook announced this week that it is hiring a New York University (NYU) professor to head its new artificial intelligence lab. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at the NIPS Deep Learning Workshop in Lake Tahoe, California, on Monday, that Professor Yann LeCun from NYU's Center for Data Science will head up Facebook's new AI lab, first announced in September. 

Ahead of the announcement, LeCun revealed on the social networking site that he had accepted Zuckerberg's offer. 

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer said: "As one of the most respected thinkers in this field, Yann has done groundbreaking research in deep learning and computer vision."

The lab, based operate across three sites including New York, London and Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters in California, will concentrate on "machine learning", which is a branch of artificial intelligence involving computers 'learning' to mine knowledge from massive datasets. 

Facebook could use AI to devise better ways for machines to figure out which ads people click on as it could give the company an insight into why people are drawn towards certain areas on the site, engage in particular ways, or move between news and other information frequently and apparently randomly.

The appointment of LeCun is part-time so that he can continue in his current role with NYU.

One of the social media giant's first hires for its AI lab was Marc’Aurelio Ranzato — a former Google employee and member of Hinton’s lab in Toronto who earned his Ph.D. from NYU under LeCun.

LeCun added in his Facebook post that the company is hiring for its newly formed artificial intelligence lab but did not disclose how many people. 


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