Google selected longtime deep learning and big data program developer Jeff Dean as its AI director. Photo: Google

Google Brain Leader Dean to Guide AI Division

Google named Jeff Dean as its new director of AI following the departure of John Giannandrea to Apple as its top AI manager, Wired magazine reported in a story headlined, “Google’s New AI Head Is So Smart He Doesn’t Need AI.” As the foremost leader in AI research and development, Google has already relied on Dean since 2012 as a leader in its Google Brain department—creating neural networks and deep learning projects.

Google’s deep neural networks improved image recognition and radically improved the accuracy of its speech recognition service, with much of the work led by Dean, according to Wired. The move puts Dean in the spotlight at the company as its top department director.

“CEO Sundar Pichai describes the company’s strategy as ‘AI first,’ saying that everything the company does will build on the technology,” according to writer Tom Simonite of Wired.

While search and smartphone technology are the best-known products of the company, health technology is one area the company plans to master. The company is testing software in India to detect diabetes complications and another that identifies signs of breast cancer on microscope slides, according to Wired.

Dean joined Google in 1999, and helped develop such products as MapReduce, Bigtable and Spanner, according to Wikipedia. MapReduce is a programming model to generate big data sets with a parallel, distributed algorithm. Bigtable is a compressed, high performance and proprietary data storage system built on Google File System. Spanner is Google’s globally distributed NewSQL database. Dean has also worked on performance monitoring, compression techniques and machine learning applications.

A graduate of the University of Washington with both a master’s and Ph.D. in computer science, Dean began his career in 1996 at Compaq, then moved to MySimon in 1999, where he left in August of that year to join Google’s research team. He co-designed and implemented five successive generations of Google’s crawling, indexing and query retrieval systems, according to his LinkedIn profile.