SEATTLE, WASH. – SEPTEMBER 4, 2013 – Vulcan Inc. Chairman Paul G. Allen announced today that Dr. Oren Etzioni has joined his family of organizations as the Executive Director of his artificial intelligence institute based in Seattle. Etzioni will be in charge of expanding the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence with new hires, and directing and developing a wide range of AI initiatives.
Etzioni joins Allen’s institute from the University of Washington’s Computer Science Department, where he was the Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Professor and Director of the Turing Center. His research has focused on solving fundamental problems in AI, with an emphasis on automatic learning of knowledge from text.
"Oren is exceptionally talented, and he shares my vision and enthusiasm for the exciting possibilities in the field of AI, including opportunities to help computers acquire knowledge and reason," said Allen. “I’ve been very encouraged by the tremendous strides we’ve made in brain research at the Allen Institute for Brain Science over the past decade. With Oren's leadership, we will apply that same model to explore the critical questions in AI today.”
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to launch a major AI Research Institute in Seattle,” said Etzioni. “Our goal is to revolutionize the field, and with Paul’s vision and support, the sky’s the limit.”
A faculty member at the University of Washington since 1991, Etzioni holds a bachelor’s in computer science from Harvard University and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a recipient of a National Young Investigator Award, a Robert S. Engelmore Memorial Award, and was selected as an Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Fellow. In addition to working as a venture partner with Madrona Venture Group, he has founded several startup companies, including the shopping site Decide.com and the price prediction engine Farecast, acquired by Microsoft in 2008 to become the foundation for Bing Travel.
"Oren has a gift for imagining possibilities, which is key when you are working in these uncharted areas," said Allan Jones, CEO of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. "I'm excited to see another Paul Allen institute take off, and look forward to finding ways for the Institute for Brain Science to collaborate with this one down the road."
Etzioni, who has assumed his new position this week, will immediately begin his search for talented AI scientists and staff to join the institute team.
About Paul G. Allen
Paul G. Allen is a leading investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist who has given more than $1.5 billion to charitable causes over his lifetime. He founded Vulcan Inc. in 1986 with Jody Allen to oversee his business and philanthropic activities. Today, that Seattle-based company oversees a wide range of Allen’s investments and projects throughout the world. In 2003, Allen created the Allen Institute for Brain Science to accelerate understanding of the human brain in health and disease. The nonprofit pursues unprecedented large-scale research initiatives that result in knowledge, data and tools intended to fuel discovery throughout the broader scientific community. Using the Allen Institute for Brain Science as a model, Allen recently established the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle to explore opportunities for development in the field of AI. Allen is the co-founder of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which has awarded over $469 million to non-profits in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, as well as the founder of the EMP Museum, the Flying Heritage Collection, and the Living Computer Museum.