Google announced on Wednesday the formation of Google DeepMind, a new unit consolidating the DeepMind and Google Brain teams. The unit will work closely with Google’s product teams to deliver AI research and products. In a blog post, DeepMind co-founder and CEO Demis Hassabis said that the work the unit will do “will create the next wave of world-changing breakthroughs.”
The new unit will be overseen by a new scientific board and led by Koray Kavukcuoglu, VP of research at DeepMind. Eli Collins, VP of product at Google Research, will join Google DeepMind as VP of product, while Zoubin Ghahramani, Google Brain lead, will become a member of the Google DeepMind research leadership team. Jeff Dean, co-founder of Google Brain, will become chief scientist for both Google Research and Google DeepMind, reporting to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
While Google DeepMind will focus on AI research and products, Google Research will remain an independent division, focusing on “fundamental advances in computer science across areas such as algorithms and theory, privacy and security, quantum computing, health, climate and sustainability and responsible AI.”
DeepMind was founded in 2010 by Hassabis, Shane Legg, and Mustafa Suleyman. Google acquired the company for $500 million in 2014. The lab made headlines numerous times for developing AI that can beat human professional Go players and predict the structures of complex proteins.
Google Brain was formed in 2011 as a part-time research collaboration between Dean, Google researcher Greg Corrado, and Stanford University professor Andrew Ng. It created tools such as TensorFlow, an AI model creation framework, and enhancements to Google Translate.
DeepMind has struggled to break even with its growing expenses, including the compute necessary to train massive AI models and a large headcount. Alphabet, which owns Google, wrote off nearly £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) of DeepMind’s debt in 2019.
However, DeepMind is now profitable, reporting a modest £44 million ($60 million) profit in 2020, up from a £477 million ($650 million) loss in 2019. Its revenue is almost entirely dependent on licensing its technologies to other Alphabet groups, such as Waymo.