Amazon Makes $1.5 Million Investment In AI

Amazon announced a $1.5 million investment on Monday to back an artificial intelligence lab in Germany.

The investment supports a partnership with the German institute called The Max Planck Society in Cyber Valley. Through the deal, Amazon intends to collaborate in research with the Max Planck Institute for Intelligence Systems in Tübingen, a university town near Stuttgart.

“With Amazon joining the Cyber Valley, our idea to create a fruitful environment for business activities that will gain momentum by expanding AI research in the Stuttgart and Tübingen area,” stated Max Planck President Martin Stratmann. 

Amazon's commitment will bring about 100 highly skilled jobs to the research center in Tübingen as it builds out an applied research on artificial intelligence.

The society was founded in December 2016 with the goal of bringing major science and technology groups together to collaborate on AI, robotics, machine learning, and computer vision projects.



Some of those projects will likely impact search, although the company and society did not mention the topic in the announcement.

Amazon said it also will set up its own research center adjacent to the institute.

As part of the partnership, Amazon has announced that it will invest €1.25 million ($1.5 million) in awards for various research groups in Cyber Valley. Amazon also hopes to create roles for 100 employees at its new research center over the next five years.

Amazon said it will contribute €1.25 million ($1.5 million) to set up research groups in the Stuttgart and Tübingen region.

In addition to Amazon and the Max Planck Society, organizations such as the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and the universities of Stuttgart and Tübingen as well as companies such as BMW, Bosch, Daimler, IAV, Porsche and ZF Friedrichshafen have agreed to participate.

Directors at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems Michael J. Black and Bernhard Schölkopf will support the research center as distinguished Amazon scholars. Schölkopf is a leading machine-learning expert in Europe, focusing on teaching computers to understand causality.

Black, an expert in machine vision, also co-founded New York-based Body Labs, a 3D human body modeling startup that Amazon acquired early in October. 

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