Online shopping behemoth Amazon has partnered with MIT to launch a new research hub aimed at expanding participation in AI, robotics and related fields, while working to ensure that the benefits of this research are shared broadly,both through education and by advancing research. Administered at MIT by the Schwarzman College of Computing, the Science Hub will support research, education and outreach efforts in areas of mutual interest, beginning with artificial intelligence and robotics.
‘AI and robotics have an enormous impact on every aspect of our lives, fundamentally changing how we work, learn, access resources and services, and connect to one another – so it’s critical we conduct research that advances the field in ways that are responsible, effective and beneficial to society,’ said Aude Oliva, a senior research scientist and director of strategic industry engagement in the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, who will serve as the principal investigator for the Science Hub.
‘We take an expansive view of AI and robotics to include expertise from across all five of the institute’s schools and the college,’ Oliva continued. ‘We’re excited by the potential of collaborations with industry leaders who bring their insights to the research, want to support the next generation of talent, and are best positioned to implement what is learned.’
The collaboration will enable a broad set of programs across MIT, including annual fellowships for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and research projects led by MIT faculty members. It will also support events and activities that accelerate AI and robotics research by making it more accessible, such as research symposia that are open to other academic institutions and the public.
‘We are delighted to join forces with MIT, bringing together top scientists and engineers from our two organizations in a joint endeavour to find solutions to the most challenging problems in AI and robotics,’ said Tye Brady, chief technologist at Amazon Robotics. ‘MIT’s well-established record of conducting leading-edge, multi-disciplinary research paired with Amazon’s emphasis on translating research into applied science will help ensure the new hub results in practical solutions whose benefits extend beyond industry and academia.’
‘We are particularly keen to utilise the breadth of collaboration mechanisms available in the new hub, including sponsored research which could lead to open-source publications and community outreach that will broaden participation in the research process,’ added Siddhartha Srinivasa, director of Amazon Robotics AI. ‘These mechanisms are now open to all the business areas of Amazon beyond Robotics too, so we are excited to see the breadth of innovation to come from this collaboration in the coming years.’