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Carnegie Mellon Professor Chosen To Head Google Engineering Office in Pittsburgh

Computer Science and Robotics Professor Andrew Moore is an expert in data mining and artificial intelligence.
Andrew W. Moore, Carnegie Mellon University professor of computer science and robotics, has been chosen by Google Inc., developer of the award-winning search engine, to head a new engineering office that will open in Pittsburgh sometime in 2006.

The new engineering office will focus on creating a variety of search tools for Google and could act as an engine for creating new high-tech jobs in the Pittsburgh area.

Moore, 40, is an expert in data mining and artificial intelligence. His research lab, which includes 30 students, programmers and faculty, is well-known for finding new ways to organize information to make it practical to quickly find meaningful statistical patterns. For the past five years, Moore and his collaborators have been developing new ways to find patterns in massive amounts of data and building new machine learning systems that have been deployed in many commercial applications, as well as in the fields of medicine and physics.

Early in his career, Moore established himself as an expert in using robotics and data mining to solve manufacturing problems. Software produced by his research is now used routinely by several companies to improve the productivity of their manufacturing operations.

Moore is a graduate of the University of Cambridge in England. He joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty as an assistant professor of computer science and robotics in 1993, and since then has compiled an outstanding body of work that focuses on collaboration between academia and industry. He envisions a future in which companies will become dramatically more productive by mining data in all aspects of their operations.

"It is astonishingly exciting to be moving to Google and helping to start this new engineering office," said Moore. "For me, Carnegie Mellon—and the Pittsburgh region—was already one of the most exciting places on the planet for someone interested in new ways for computers to process and organize information. Like everyone else, I have been amazed by what Google has achieved, both as a computer scientist, looking at it in terms of a technical challenge, and in the broad view of how this seven-year-old company has helped hundreds of millions of people change the way they access knowledge. So having Google opening an engineering office in Pittsburgh is like a dream come true. I think the things we'll be doing here will be amazing."

"We open engineering offices where there are great engineers, and we're very excited about the talent the Pittsburgh area has to offer," said Craig Nevill-Manning, engineering director at Google. "We're working on some very interesting problems, and we're excited about hiring smart Pittsburgh computer scientists to help us solve them."

"Google is one of the world's great companies," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "By any measure—in creating value to shareholders, in making significant technical contributions, in setting high standards for ethical business practices—it has an outstanding record. We could not be more delighted and honored that Google has chosen to set up an engineering office in our city. We are also grateful to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato for their support and vision of the role of universities as catalysts for economic growth in Pennsylvania," he said.

Pennsylvania state officials are also enthusiastic about the addition of another high tech company to the Pittsburgh economic scene.

"With leadership from the Commonwealth, Carnegie Mellon University and Google, today's announcement brings the promise of new opportunities and jobs to Southwestern Pennsylvania," said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Yablonsky. "International companies like Google are locating in Southwestern Pennsylvania to take advantage of not only its quality of life and broad base of technology industries the region has to offer, but also the world-class research colleges and universities and deep talent pool that is needed for these companies to grow and expand here in Pennsylvania. We look forward to continuing to work with Google to provide a supportive business environment and the needed resources to ensure their success and growth in Pennsylvania."

"Andrew Moore has built his career on the twin challenges of developing techniques to extract patterns from large data sets and applying these machine learning methods to real-life problems," said Randal E. Bryant, dean of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science. "He has shown that machine learning can be applied in diverse ways, ranging from searching for distant asteroids to detecting possible bioterrorism incidents based on patterns of people buying over-the-counter medications. His talents line up well with Google's mission to 'organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.'"

The Google Engineering Office in Pittsburgh will be the latest addition to the company's growing number of facilities in Tokyo, Japan, Zurich, Switzerland, and Bangalore, India, as well as in New York, Phoenix, Santa Monica and Mountain View, Calif., where the company is headquartered.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have joined forces with Google on several initiatives, including Global Connection, a software system that can overlay images onto Google Earth, the company's Earth imaging browser. The purpose of Global Connection is to enable people around the world to be more aware of their neighbors and appreciate the oneness of the planet.

Another project uniting Google and Carnegie Mellon is ESP, an online, multi-party game that harnesses human cognitive capabilities to index images on the Web. As people play the game, they identify and accurately label images, enabling more efficient searches, improving the accuracy of assisted reading devices for the visually impaired and helping Internet users block inappropriate images.

Google also sponsors Women@SCS, a professional organization in the School of Computer Science renowned for on-campus and outreach programs that have contributed to the school's success in attracting and retaining women.

The company also sponsored Carnegie Mellon's Red Team, whose autonomous vehicles Sandstorm and H1ghlander successfully competed in the DARPA Grand Challenge, a 132 mile-desert race for robots, earlier this year.

As many as 50 Carnegie Mellon alumni work for Google, including Kai-Fu Lee, who oversees the company's growing presence in China; and Howard Gobioff, principal engineer and director of engineering at Google's Tokyo Research Laboratory.

Anne Watzman
December 15, 2005

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