Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Apple's machine learning head departs to run AI thinktank

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a non-profit aimed to furthering AI research, has named Apple machine learning chief Ali Farhadi as its new CEO.

Starting from July 31, Farhadi will become the CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), the research institute explained on Tuesday. The move will have Farhadi overseeing the work of the non-profit, which performs AI research and engineering.

An AI professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, Farhadi joined AI2 in 2015 to work on its Computer Vision team. He went on to co-found, a deep learning startup that was acquired by Apple in 2020 for $200 million.

After spending time at Apple leading its Machine Learning efforts, Farhadi rejoins AI2 to head up the organization. AI2 has over 200 researchers and engineers around the world, working on advances in science, medicine, and conversation through AI.

The organization has published nearly 700 papers over eight years, with its incubator creating 19 companies collectively worth $767 million and employing 500 people.

"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. "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."

"Ali is the truly rare leader who combines expertise as an executive, entrepreneur, academic, and researcher. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated the transformative power of AI through his unique ability to channel deep scientific research into product solutions," said AI2 board member and Microsoft Research and Incubations corporate VP Dr. Peter Lee.

Farhadi replaces the previous founding CEO, Oren Etzioni, who stepped down from the role on June 15 in favor of serving as a board member and advisor, as well as a technical director for the AI2 incubator. Peter Clark, an AI2 research leader, has been working as interim CEO.