AI Comic from xkcdJohn Cook of GeekWire recently reported, “Perhaps no one has been more synonymous with the startup ethos at the University of Washington than computer science professor Oren Etzioni, a mainstay on campus for more than two decades and an inspiration for budding entrepreneurs in academia. An expert in search, data mining and machine learning, Etzioni’s technologies have formed the basis of startup companies such as Netbot (acquired by Excite), Farecast (acquired by Microsoft) and Decide.com (backed by Madrona, Maveron and others). Now, Etzioni, who earned his PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, is moving on from academia after nearly 30 years.”

“But he’s not straying too far from his love of research and technology,” Cook continues. “Etzioni has been tapped by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to lead an ambitious new undertaking around the study of artificial intelligence, a multi-million dollar effort that could have huge implications for the region’s tech industry and, more importantly, society as a whole. ‘It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,’ Etzioni said in an interview with GeekWire. ‘I’ve had the chance to do research and write papers, and I’ve had a chance to launch startups. And this is a combination of both.’ Etzioni said he was drawn to Allen’s ‘bold and ambitious vision,’ noting that the billionaire will be supporting the new effort both intellectually and financially. Exact dollar amounts for the new center — to be called the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence or AI2 for short — have not yet been laid out. At this time, fewer than 10 people are working with Etzioni on the endeavor. His first day was [last] week.”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy xkcd – http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/ai.png