Google AI SVP Jeff Dean (second from the right) found time to meet with a number of machine learning students while he was on campus this week.
It’s not every day that Google’s head of artificial intelligence visits Georgia Tech, but when he does he makes an impact. Hosted by the College of Computing and the Machine Learning Center (ML@GT), Jeff Dean, senior fellow and senior vice president at Google AI, spent the day with students and faculty on Oct. 1.
Dean’s main talk was held in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Center. More than 600 people attended to hear his perspective on Using Deep Learning to Solve Challenging Problems. Dean touched on topics including how Google is working to improve diversity, solve healthcare problems, and put autonomous cars on the road during the talk.
Although the talk was his only publicly scheduled event, Dean found time to meet with smaller groups of students while on campus. One of these meetings included an informal Q&A session with students in the machine learning club, The Agency, the evening before his talk.
“It meant a lot to us that Jeff was willing to come talk with us right after getting off a plane from Paris. We had a great conversation and are very appreciative of his time and perspective on so many topics,” said Arda Pekis, a first-year master’s in computer science student who helped to organize the gathering.
Machine learning Ph.D. student Cusuh Ham was one of the select students to eat breakfast with Dean before his talk. A former Google AI intern who still works with Google’s Atlanta office, Ham was thrilled to hear Dean talk about Google Research’s plans to expand to the city.
“A few students expressed their hopes that more companies would come to Atlanta, presenting more opportunities to work in tech outside of the Bay area, and improve diversity within companies. It was great news to me to hear that that’s something of interest to Google,” said Ham.
Many students were thrilled to have the chance to discuss their opinions with someone as influential as Dean.
“Our conversation touched on a variety of topics—how researchers need to be better at multi-task learning, the direction of machine learning, and what can be done to make the tech field more diverse. It was exciting to have a conversation with someone as prolific as Jeff Dean and have him hear our opinions,” said Steven Hickson, a machine learning Ph.D. student.
Dean also participated in a round table discussion with key faculty members from each of the College’s three schools and toured the new Coda building.