Google quietly acquires object recognition startup DNNresearch

By on March 13, 2013, 8:30 AM

Google has acquired a small Canadian research company called DNNresearch. The three-person startup, specializing in object recognition, was founded within the University of Toronto’s computer science department according to Techvibes.

DNNresearch was led by processor Geoffrey Hinton and two graduate students, Alex Krizhevsky and Ilya Sutskever. The company reportedly focused on deep neural networks or “deep learning.” The three member team will now join the search giant’s work with contextual recognition of voice and images although the professor will now split time between the university, Google’s Toronto office and its Mountain View, California headquarters.

Hinton said he was extremely excited about the opportunity to keep his research in Toronto yet still be able to assist Google with new developments related to deep learning. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Google has reached out to the university as they had previously awarded this same group of researchers a gift in the amount of $600,000 to fund the study of neural nets.

Professor David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto, said Hinton’s research is a magnificent example of disruptive innovation rooted in basic research. He further pointed out that researchers who use their expertise, curiosity and intuition eventually come up with practical applications that no one could have imagined.

Details of the acquisition have not yet been made public. In fact, Google hasn’t even commented on the acquisition as of writing. We’ll keep an eye on this and post an update if more information becomes available.

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