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Baidu Opening Artificial-Intelligence Center In Silicon Valley, To Be Headed By Man Behind 'Google Brain'

Update Date: May 17, 2014 10:08 AM EDT

Google of China - Baidu - is investing $300 million in a new research-and-development center in Silicon Valley. The center will have around 200 employees and will be led by Andrew Ng, most recently head of Stanford University's artificial-intelligence lab, WSJ reported. 

Mr Ng has also helped Google Inc set up its artificial-intelligence efforts and was a part of the research team that built computer that taught itself to recognize cats after looking at millions of YouTube videos.

"There's been this old stereotype that other countries copy U.S. technology," Mr. Ng said in an interview," according to WSJ, "[but] there's tons of stuff that Baidu has done that just isn't anywhere else in the world."

Chinese governments block foreign based services such as Facebook and Twitter, helping native internet companies to be some of the largest internet companies. Although Chinese companies' users are mostly located in China, they are increasingly becoming active in Silicon Valley through investments and other recruitment initiatives. 

Baidu's new lab will mainly focus on the development of artificial intelligence and deep learning - a branch of artificial intelligence, in which computer scientists attempt to simulate the human brain through computers that can see and learn for themselves. 

Baidu already has a deep learning center in Beijing. Recently it also released an application that identifies objects in photographs. 

"The philosophy of the lab will be to have a small number of projects with strong leaders," said Mr. Ng. Adam Coates, another Stanford artificial-intelligence researcher, is joining him at Baidu.

"There is a hypothesis that a lot of human intelligence is due to one learning algorithm," Mr. Ng said. "No one knows what the right algorithm is, but it gives us hope that if we can discover some crude approximation of whatever this algorithm is and implement it on a computer, that can help us make a lot of progress."

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