Andrew Ng is the man who helped launch Google’s wildly ambitious effort to recreate the human brain with computer hardware and software. And now, he will oversee a similar project at Baidu, often called “the Google of China.”
Ng, who starts in his new job today, is stepping away from the day-to-day operations at Coursera, the online-education startup he co-founded. He will still be involved in some projects at Coursera, he says, and will remain the chairman of the board and the public face of the company. But his main focus will be on building up Baidu’s AI chops and its Silicon Valley presence. He’ll spend most of his time in Sunnyvale. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to build an international research organization from scratch,” Ng says. “I’ve been super excited about AI for a long time, and this is an opportunity for me to return to that.”
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UPDATE: Direct to “A personal message from Co-founder Andrew Ng (via Coursera Blog)
Later this month, I will be stepping away from my day-to-day responsibilities at Coursera, but will be continuing as Chairman of the Board. I will also be taking on the role of Chief Scientist at Baidu.
I love the Coursera team, and remain committed to our mission to give everyone a great education. In 2011, I taught my first machine learning MOOC to 104,000 learners, which led to the founding of Coursera. I’m proud that Coursera has since grown this movement to 7.5 million learners, and that we now offer courses from more than 100 incredible institutions.
In the past year, we have substantially grown Coursera’s team, with CEO Rick Levin, as well as John Ciancutti, Vivek Goel, Lila Ibrahim, and many others joining our leadership. Daphne Koller and I are grateful to have found so many trusted partners throughout the company with whom to build the business.
Because of this, in recent weeks I have been thinking about my broader interests, including machine learning, which are my roots and helped launch Coursera and the MOOC movement.
With the MOOC movement healthy and growing, I now plan to dedicate more of my time toward AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning. I will be joining Baidu as their Chief Scientist to help build out a research organization, headquartered in Silicon Valley. Both education and AI have been longstanding passions for me. I believe some of my skills will allow me to make a contribution to the latter.
I joined Coursera to launch MOOCs out to the world. Coursera has grown to a level where I am confident that it will continue to grow and thrive. In my continuing role as Chairman of the Board, I will work with the team to make sure that we do so. In this role, I will continue to act as a spokesperson and evangelist for Coursera, support the company in building out its Teaching & Learning team, further Coursera’s work in China, and remain deeply involved in company strategy.
In 2011, my small team had made a commitment to always put learners first. This mantra continues to drive our work at Coursera, and I look forward to working with Rick, Daphne and the rest of the company to fulfill our mission and serve learners worldwide.
Chairman and Co-Founder, Coursera