Google Research Scientist Spoke at Data Science Institute

Kevin Murphy, a research scientist at Google, described the company’s efforts to enhance computer vision and machine learning during an hour-long presentation at the Data Science Institute (DSI).

In his talk, “Towards Machines That Perceive and Communicate,” Murphy encapsulated Google’s research related to visual-scene understanding and grounded-language understanding. 

In particular, he discussed research by his group, called Vale, that is leading to a deeper understanding of videos, photos and language. Some of the projects he detailed included a sysem for semantic segmentation; an object detection system; an instance segmentation system; and a person detection/pose estimation system. He also covered Vale’s work in visually-grounded referring expressions; discriminative-image captioning; semantic metrics for image captioning as well as generative models of visual imagination.

“My group is very talented," said Murphy, "and the work they’ve done, once combined, can develop systems that better understand images and words."

In introducing Murphy, David Blei, a professor in the Data Science Institute, called him a national leader in machine learning and noted that his book, "Machine Learning: a Probabilistic Perspective," (MIT Press, 2012), won the 2013 DeGroot Prize, given to the best book in the field of statistics. About 300 students attended Murphy’s talk. After his presentation, he also spoke to a group of graduate students at the Data Science Institute.

Murphy began his career in academia, so he was right at home at DSI. Before joining Google in 2011, he was an associate professor of computer science and statistics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. And before that he was a postdoc at MIT. He has published more than 80 papers and is the (co) Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Machine Learning Research.                 

--By Robert Florida

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