Department of Engineering / News / New role for Cambridge AI and machine learning expert

Department of Engineering

New role for Cambridge AI and machine learning expert

New role for Cambridge AI and machine learning expert

Professor Zoubin Ghahramani

Professor of Information Engineering Zoubin Ghahramani has been appointed as Chief Scientist at Uber.

Professor Ghahramani is a natural for the Chief Scientist role.


Professor Ghahramani, who is among the most influential artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) researchers in the world, will join the smartphone-based transportation network company at its head office in San Francisco. He will oversee Uber’s AI and ML strategy and its AI Labs, the recently created machine learning and AI research unit. He will be on leave from the University of Cambridge while in this new role at Uber.

Professor Ghahramani leads a group of around 30 researchers at the Department of Engineering and has published more than 250 scientific papers on statistical machine learning and other areas of information engineering.

In 2013, Professor Ghahramani won a $750,000 grant from Google for his work on a project attempting to build an ‘automatic statistician’ and has previously served as advisory board member to Microsoft Research Cambridge.

Speaking about his new role as Chief Scientist at Uber, Professor Ghahramani said: “Uber is one of the world’s fastest growing and most innovative technology companies and its mission to ‘make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone’ will have a tremendous, positive impact on society.

“I’m a great believer in the potential for technology to improve lives around the world, and I’m really excited about helping Uber in this mission. I have realised what a fantastic place Uber is for machine learning and AI researchers: there are a huge number of opportunities for both near-term, high-impact research and longer term challenges to work on; the resources both in terms of data and computation are plentiful and there are many talented and brilliant colleagues to work with.

“AI and ML are absolutely central to Uber’s mission. Uber’s opportunities are unique among major technology companies because they centre around the real physical world, which is complex and difficult to predict.

“We have to navigate around the real world, develop perception and action systems for our self-driving cars and understand, predict, and make more efficient the experience for our riders and drivers. At a larger scale, we are trying to model and optimise entire cities and reimagine the future of transportation through, for example, urban vertical take-off and landing aviation. The probabilistic ML approaches I work on are clearly useful for this, but we have assembled research talent across a much wider range of ML and AI approaches including deep learning, reinforcement learning, and optimisation, as well as problem domains such as language and robotics. We are continuing to recruit across all these areas and more, for both talented researchers and engineers. I’m excited to embark on this new adventure.”

In a post on Uber’s website, the company says Professor Ghahramani is ‘a natural for the Chief Scientist role’.  

This article has been edited from the Uber Newsroom website.

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