Facebook plants AI research team in Paris

Reflecting the budding startup scene in the French capital, Facebook has also been firming up its footprint in Paris for some time now.

Facebook is offering some more hints at its virtual reality and artificial intelligence ambitions with the grand opening of a new office in Paris dedicated to AI innovation.

The program, dubbed Facebook AI Research (FAIR), will be tasked with long-term research projects on image recognition, natural language processing and speech recognition.

In line with Facebook's method of homegrown infrastructure, the AI team will also be responsible for building out the back-end pipelines for funneling all of that data.

The end goal is to produce new channels for displaying Facebook's core features: News Feed, search and photos.

To get started, Facebook signed a collaborative agreement with the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (abbreviated in French to "INRIA"). The collaboration will offer opportunities for bringing on more local research professionals, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.

"We chose Paris for this expansion because France is home to some of the best researchers in the world," according to Facebook in a blog post on Tuesday. "We think the FAIR Paris team will bring valuable expertise and new perspectives to our work, and we plan to work openly with and invest in the AI research community in France, the EU, and beyond as we strive to make meaningful progress in these fields."

Facebook has a number of single department-focused offices and teams deployed around the world -- sometimes permanent and other times temporary -- including engineering offices opened in New York, London, Seattle and Vancouver.

As far as AI goes, Facebook has teams already set up at its global headquarters in Menlo Park as well as New York.

Perhaps reflecting the budding startup scene in the French capital, Facebook has also been firming up its footprint in Paris for some time now.

Earlier this year, the social network forged partnership with TheFamily, a Paris-based organization helping entrepreneurs get started. Already serving more than 180 businesses, TheFamily is said to be one of the largest startup incubators of its kind in France.

Under the deal, Facebook extended its mobile developer startup-focused FbStart suite of services to TheFamily-backed companies.


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