Apple’s new Seattle-based machine learning division, created through its $200 million acquisition of startup Turi earlier this month, will “build tools that enable teams across Apple to develop machine learning solutions to power amazingly intelligent user experiences.”
That’s the description used in a pair of job posts published Tuesday, providing the best hint yet about Apple’s plans for the new division. The posts, first spotted by Apple news site 9to5Mac, have since been removed from Apple’s site but are still available on some third-party jobs sites.
GeekWire broke the news of Apple’s Turi acquisition on Aug. 5. The new job posts confirm what sources said at the time — that Turi will remain in the Seattle region and continue to grow as Apple builds out further expertise in data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Both job posts start by explaining, “Turi is the new machine learning division at Apple.”
One post, for an advanced applications developer position on the Turi team, says the company is “looking for new energetic members to join our ML Applications team to collaborate with product teams on a variety of advanced proof-of-concept projects.”
Key qualifications include experience “shipping iOS apps in App Store.” It adds, “watchOS is a plus!”
The post continues, “You will work with data scientists on the ML Applications team to build proof-of-concept apps for a variety of projects across Apple product teams. These projects will use machine learning techniques to drive new elegant user experiences or to improve existing ones.”
A post seeking a data scientist for the Turi team says, “As a member of the ML Applications team, you will engage directly with data scientists and engineers in Apple product teams to co-develop machine learning solutions for a variety of tasks and projects using a variety of tools and techniques. You will be a trusted advisor for best practice machine learning development.”
Previously known as GraphLab and Dato, Turi began as an open-source project at Carnegie Mellon in 2009 under Carlos Guestrin, who became the company’s chief executive. In 2012, he joined the University of Washington’s faculty. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos provided $2 million to endow two professorships in machine learning at the UW for Guestrin and his wife, Emily Fox.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said on the company’s most recent earnings call that Apple was focusing on machine learning and artificial intelligence in a variety of ways across its products, including but not limited to its Siri personal assistant.
Turi was Apple’s second Seattle-related acquisition in the past two years. In 2014, the tech giant bought Union Bay Networks, a stealthy cloud networking startup, which ultimately led to Apple opening an engineering office in Seattle. The company is rumored to be looking for a more space in the region.