Yahoo and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have announced a five-year, $10 million partnership.
In an industry-first, a mobile toolkit will enable CMU researchers to easily experiment with Yahoo's realtime data services. This will allow for testing new ways that machine learning can improve personalized user experiences.
"We're thrilled to be partnering with the exceptional faculty and students at Carnegie Mellon, which has established itself as a premier institution for machine learning and user interface technologies," said Ron Brachman, chief scientist and head of Yahoo Labs. "By creating a way for Carnegie Mellon University researchers to work directly with Yahoo software and infrastructure, we hope to speed up the pace of mobile and personalization research and create a better user experience."
The mobile toolkit will serve as a living laboratory for researchers to explore new approaches to understanding human behavior by using machine learning algorithms to more accurately predict user needs and intentions. Members of the CMU community who opt-in to test the experimental mobile software will provide researchers access to real user data and the opportunity to rapidly iterate on the technologies.
The partnership, which includes the toolkit and a new Yahoo-sponsored fellowship program at CMU, is named Project InMind. The fellowship program will provide financial and research support to computer science students and faculty members. Yahoo Fellows will have the opportunity to pursue research in disciplines such as machine learning, mobile technologies, human-computer interaction, personalization, novel interaction techniques, and natural language processing, with annual financial support from Yahoo and mentorship from world-class computer scientists at Yahoo Labs and CMU.
"The InMind program provides unique new opportunities for the outstanding faculty and students at CMU to partner with Yahoo and its talented scientists and engineers to potentially further the frontiers of mobile applications and technologies," said CMU President Subra Suresh. "This partnership is a clear demonstration, in the tradition of CMU, of how scholarly scientific research combined with industry relevance and perspectives could advance technologies that have a global social impact."
"This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for our students and faculty to work directly with a team of leading-edge researchers from Yahoo Labs on technologies that could benefit hundreds of millions of mobile users," said Randal E. Bryant, University Professor and dean of the School of Computer Science. "The overall commitment in this new partnership is a testament to our shared desire to advance the science of machine learning, user interfaces, and mobile technologies."
The InMind Project will be directed at CMU by Tom Mitchell, Fredkin University Professor of Computer Science and Machine Learning and head of the Machine Learning Department, and by Justine Cassell, the Charles M. Geschke Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute.
Since its establishment in 2005, Yahoo Labs has served as the Company's incubator for bold experimentation, applying its scientific findings to create personalized, delightful experiences for Yahoo's users and enhance value for its advertisers. Yahoo Labs continues to innovate across numerous research areas including machine learning, personalization, mobile, advertising science, image processing, natural language processing and more.
CMU's School of Computer Science, now celebrating the 25th anniversary of its transformation from a department to a school, is consistently ranked as one of the world's top computer science schools. Its programs reflect a broad view of computer science, encompassing such disciplines as robotics, language technologies, machine learning, human-computer interaction and computational biology, while preparing students to use computation to transform society.