Alibaba’s DAMO Academy Leaders Take Charge in AI Development

Against the backdrop of ChatGPT continuing to generate extensive discussions and attracting a growing user base, Chinese tech giants are exploring the development of similar large language models through generative AI. On March 16, Work Bonus reported that, following a series of personnel changes in 2022, Alibaba‘s DAMO Academy has now established three laboratories dedicated to the development of large language models.

Zhou Jingren, the associate dean of DAMO Academy, is the leader of Alibaba‘s large language model development project, Tongyi. Zhou is in charge of research in the areas of AI, machine intelligence, intelligent computing, XR, and urban brain laboratory.

Currently, the development of natural language processing, image processing, and computing power are areas of highest priority for major Chinese companies. Correspondingly, the Language Technology Laboratory, Visual Intelligence Laboratory, and Intelligent Computing Laboratory are the three main teams at DAMO Academy working towards this goal.

The Language Technology Lab at DAMO Academy has a significant workforce dedicated to developing natural language processing (NLP) technology, dialogue technology, machine translation, and other related applications. Si Luo, the former head of the laboratory, has since left his position at Alibaba, but rumors of his departure to start a new business have been denied by insiders.

Huang Fei, the current head of the Language Technology Lab, is a graduate of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and has previously worked at IBM and Facebook. He has co-authored over 40 publications at top conferences and journals related to natural language processing and artificial intelligence. Since joining Alibaba, his team has focused on text visual understanding, translation algorithms, multilingual NLP applications, intelligent dialogue and service technology, natural language basic technology, and application algorithms.

The Visual Intelligence Laboratory was previously led by Xu Yinghui, who holds a Ph.D. from Japan’s Toyohashi University of Technology. The current laboratory leader, Zhao Deli, graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University and has previously worked at Taiwanese consumer electronics company HTC, smartphone maker Xiaomi, and Microsoft Research Asia. Zhao’s expertise in basic algorithm research of machine vision and machine learning makes him a valuable asset to the lab. Currently, Zhao’s main focus is on generating models, multimodal learning, and pre-training basic models.

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While Zhou Jingren is the official leader of the Intelligent Computing Laboratory is, the lab is actually led by Zhou Chang, who graduated from Fudan University with a major in computer science and technology in 2012 and received a Ph.D. in computer software and theory from Peking University in 2017. He joined Alibaba through campus recruitment and has been focused on recommendation systems and multimodal basic models.

Many meetings were held at DAMO Academy this month. With the launch of OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Baidu’s Ernie Bot, Alibaba is facing significant competitive pressure.