Samsung today announced the hiring of two prominent artificial intelligence researchers to bolster its research and development efforts. Dr. Sebastian Seung, a computational neuroscientist and professor at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute and Department of Computer Science, and Dr. Daniel Lee, chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, will oversee machine learning projects at Samsung’s research division.
Dr. Seung, who studied theoretical physics at Harvard, worked as a researcher at Bell Labs in the theoretical physics department and as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He won the 2008 Hoam Prize in Engineering; wrote Connectome, a book about the map of neural connections in the brain; and leads a team working on EyeWire, an online citizen science computation game about tracing neurons in the retina.
More recently, Dr. Seung engineered a computer circuit modeled on the brain’s cerebral cortex and published a paper on one of the first walking robots taught with reinforcement learning. He is also credited with applying convolutional neural networks to image segmentation, the process of partitioning pictures into multiple parts.
Dr. Lee, who also earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, worked as a researcher at Bell Labs, and received his doctorate from MIT, has been recognized for his work in robotics. He has developed algorithms for supervised and reinforcement learning, and led teams developing autonomous cars and humanoid robots.
Samsung’s latest AI investments come hot on the heels of its new AI Centers. In April, the company announced that it is opening R&D offices in Russia, the U.K., and Canada, adding to existing labs in South Korea and the U.S. The company plans to employ more than 1,000 researchers by 2020.
Samsung has made its AI ambitions clear. During the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 in January, head of Samsung Research H. S. Kim said that every Samsung product would have machine learning-enabled features by 2020. And in February, Samsung announced a joint investment in machine learning and games with Tencent, one of China’s largest technology companies.