Apple machine learning chief is the new CEO of Allen Institute for AI

21 Jun 2023

Ali Farhadi. Image: Allen Institute for AI

A former employee of the renowned institute, researcher and entrepreneur Ali Farhadi is returning to spearhead the nonprofit’s AI research and engineering.

Ali Farhadi, chief of machine learning at Apple, is leaving his position to join the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, an AI research organisation established by the co-founder of Microsoft.

One of the most influential names in machine learning technologies, Farhadi will take over as CEO of the Allen Institute on 31 July to spearhead its research and engineering efforts as generative AI continues to take the tech world by storm.

This is not Farhadi’s first gig at the institute better known as AI2. He has previously worked at the organisation after joining in 2015 to start the computer vision team. While at AI2, Farhadi co-founded a deep learning start-up called that was snapped up by Apple in 2020.

“As we face unprecedented changes in the development and usage of AI, I could not think of a better time to return to AI2 as CEO,” said Farhadi, who is also an AI professor at the Paul G Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington.

“Today more than ever, the world needs truly open and transparent AI research that is grounded in science and a place where data, algorithms and models are open and available to all. I believe this radical approach to openness is essential for building the next generation of AI.”

Farhadi has been named by Forbes as one of the top five AI entrepreneurs in the world. His research has been globally recognised with several best paper awards at CVPR, NeruIPS, AAAI, NSF Career Award and the Sloan Fellowship.

Dr Peter Lee, a member of AI2’s board of directors, said that Farhadi’s versatile talents as both an entrepreneur and researcher make him a “truly rare leader”.

“Throughout his career, he has demonstrated the transformative power of AI through his unique ability to channel deep scientific research into product solutions.”

Established in 2014 by the late co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, AI2 is a nonprofit research organisation whose mission statement is to “contribute to humanity through high-impact AI research and engineering”.

Last month, the institute raised $30m in funding for start-ups innovating in AI-based technologies born out of its incubator programme. The fund is backed by big names in investing, including Madrona, Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures and Evergreen Gavekal Ventures.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic