AI researchers rank the world’s top AI labs

Demis Hassabis, head of Google Deepmind, will speak at a press conference prior to the Google DeepMind Challenge Match held in Seoul on March 8, 2016.

Jung Youngjae | AFP | Getty Images | Getty Images

London β€” Artificial intelligence researchers hate it when they ask them to name the world’s top AI labs, probably because it’s so difficult to answer.

There are some obvious candidates. Big Tech in the US (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft) have all set up their own AI labs over the last decade. There are also DeepMind, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, and OpenAI, which counts Elon Musk as a founding investor.

“Wow, I hate this question,” Mark Reedle, an associate professor of interactive computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, told CNBC when asked to pick his outstanding figure.

β€œIn terms of reputation, there’s a good argument to say that DeepMind, OpenAI, and FAIR (Facebook AI Research) are in the top three,” says Reedle.

AI investor Nathan Benaich, a partner at Air Street Capital, also agreed. Google Brain and Microsoft could potentially be in the top ranks, Benaihi said, adding that they believe Amazon and IBM don’t belong to exactly the same league when it comes to the outcome and impact of AI research.

Another AI expert asked CNBC to remain anonymous because it hadn’t been approved by the company to speak publicly, and CNBC told DeepMind, OpenAI, and FAIR were probably the top three pure in terms of known funding. Said that it is an AI research institute. More patents. “The unknown issue is the world’s bidus and tencent,” he said, referring to Chinese tech giants.

Alphabet has given DeepMind hundreds of millions of dollars a year to do its job, and Microsoft has invested $ 1 billion in OpenAI in addition to the $ 1 billion donated by founding investors. Facebook hasn’t disassembled it, so FAIR’s funding isn’t very clear.

AI potential

One way to measure the impact of AI labs is to look at the number of academic papers published at the two largest AI conferences, NeuroIPS and ICML.

In 2020, Google accepted 178 treatises and published them on NeuroIPS, with 95 for Microsft, 59 for DeepMind, 58 for Facebook, and 38 for IBM. Amazon was less than 30.

In the same year at ICML, Google accepted and published 114 papers, DeepMind accepted 51, Microsoft 49, Facebook 34, IBM 19, and Amazon 18.

PR vs. reality

AI is highly regarded as a technology that has the potential to bring about a new industrial revolution and dramatically change the world in which we live. But at least for now, AI is in a relatively early stage and its capabilities remain “narrow.” For example, playing chess at a superhuman level doesn’t know how to make an omelet.

According to Reedle, DeepMind, OpenAI and FAIR are widely recognized as the top three labs, thanks in part to their “powerful public relations games.”

He believes that Microsoft, which does a lot of AI work through Microsoft Research, could be legally in the top ranks. “For some reason they sometimes fly under the radar,” Reedle said. “Salesforce, Amazon, and IBM all have very strong research pockets, but again, they can’t make a big leap.”

“I don’t know if we can exchange a group of researchers from these companies with other companies to make a difference,” Reedle said.

Neil Lawrence, a former director of machine learning at Amazon Cambridge, told CNBC that Amazon does not have a large centralized AI laboratory because it focuses on delivering technology to its customers.

“They will claim to have made it so successful,” said Lawrence, a professor of machine learning at the University of Cambridge. “But if you look at (academic) publications as a measure, they are not ranked.”

Lawrence said Microsoft Research is personally the lab he most respects, but “despite the lack of a (big) lab, Amazon really ranks in the introduction of AI. I have. “

“DeepMind, OpenAI and FAIR have undoubtedly dominated the headlines, but it’s interesting that much of the research they publish has traditionally been done in college.”

AI researchers rank the world’s top AI labs

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