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Alibaba Recruits Big-Hitters for AI Research Labs

By Matthew Walsh / Sep 19, 2019 05:06 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Internet giant Alibaba has recruited two acclaimed Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) experts for senior positions at its AI research laboratory in a pivot toward more complex forms of human-computer interaction, the company said in a Wednesday press release.

Chen Ying, a former principal engineer at U.S. telecoms company Qualcomm and researcher at Finnish firm Nokia, has joined Alibaba AI Labs as its chief scientist specializing in AI and edge computing, the statement said.

In addition, Tan Ping, an associate professor of computer science at Canada’s Simon Fraser University who specializes in realistic 3D reconstruction technology and previously worked in AI for Beijing-based internet security firm Qihoo 360, will head the labs’ computer vision section, according to the statement.

The appointments show that “with the imminent arrival of 5G high-speed internet, Alibaba AI Labs have already started transitioning from voice interaction to the more information-heavy and imaginative field of visual interaction,” the company said, adding that this may allow its smart speaker Tmall Genie to offer users “surprising” new visual functions in future.

Both Chen and Tan will earn million-dollar annual salaries as part of their arrangement with Alibaba, the company said.

Alibaba AI Labs is part of the company’s Damo Academy, a scientific and technological research arm founded in 2017. The labs focus on voice-assisted technology, industrial design, intelligent manufacturing, and robotics, according to the Damo Academy website.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (

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