The company which has described its purpose as nothing less than organizing the world’s information (i.e Google), has purchased a Canadian neural networks startup to help it get closer to that goal.

The company, called DNNresearch, is a spinoff of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. It was incorporated last year, and currently consists of a three person team -- university professor Geoffrey Hinton and graduate students Alex Krizhevsky and Ilya Sutskever. Recently, Google provided a US$ 600,000 grant to Hinton’s research group for work in neural nets.

No Products or Services

No financial details of the acquisition deal were released, and the company has not announced any products or services. Prof. Hinton and his students will work part-time at Google, and part-time at the university to continue their research, which will be conducted autonomously under academic freedom.

Hinton’s fields include speech recognition, computer vision and language understanding. Krizhevsky and Sutskever recently developed a system that the University said “dramatically” increased object recognition.

neural net.jpg

Professor David Naylor, president of the University, said in a statement that Hinton’s research “is a magnificent example of disruptive innovation with roots in basic research.” Hinton is the founding director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College in London, among other accomplishments.

Hinton said in a post on Google+ that he is “betting on Google’s team to be the epicenter of future breakthroughs.” He added that he spent several months last summer at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters working with “an incredible group of scientists and engineers who have a real shot at making spectacular progress in machine learning.”

Viewdle Purchase

The potential uses of advances in machine understanding, recognition and contextual learning range across Google’s line of products, services and future projects, from its search engine, to Android smartphones, and toward futuristic products like Google Glass. The company already provides the ability for users to search by voice or by image, but enhanced machine learning could make those features much more able to interpret language, data and images in their native contexts.

In October, Google bought imaging and gesture recognition company Viewdle, through its Motorola Mobility unit. Viewdle owns a variety of facial recognition patents.

Image courtesy of ktsdesign (Shutterstock)