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AI research: Google teams up with leading experts at Oxford University

Google on Thursday announced a partnership with Oxford University to collaborate on artificial intelligence (AI) research in the areas of natural language understanding and image recognition.

The announcement was made in a blog post by Google’s VP of engineering, Demis Hassabis, who also happens to be co-founder of DeepMind, the AI startup Google acquired at the beginning of the year for an estimated $400 million.

Hassabis wrote in the post that the Mountain View company will be working with two AI research startups – Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factory – founded by a total of seven research specialists, several of whom are based at the university.

Related: Google acquires AI startup DeepMind 

Dark Blue, which comprises “four world leading experts in the use of deep learning for natural language understanding,” will lead efforts to research and enhance voice recognition technology.

Meanwhile, Vision Factory, whose team includes one of the world’s leading experts on computer vision systems, will continue their work developing visual recognition technology using deep learning, which is essentially about teaching machines to process and comprehend information in a way similar to humans.

Related: How DeepMind’s AI will make Google even smarter

The DeepMind co-founder said that the collaboration will involve Google making a sizable contribution for the establishment of a research partnership with the Computer Science Department and the Engineering Department at Oxford University, “which will include a program of student internships and a series of joint lectures and workshops to share knowledge and expertise.”

Before Google acquired DeepMind, the London-based startup had received funding from several high-profile tech entrepreneurs and investors, enabling it to launch applications connected with simulations, e-commerce, and games.

While Google hasn’t revealed any specific plans for its ongoing AI research, it seems it’ll be tied in with the slew of robotics-linked startup acquisitions it’s been making in recent years as it seeks to push forward in this fast-developing field.