Internet powerhouse Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has appointed a seasoned scientist at Amazon.com Inc to spearhead its efforts in artificial intelligence, a move that will propel its so-called NASA plan to double up on technology research.
Alibaba in March announced a major project at its first technical meeting in Hangzhou, to galvanize the group's technological capabilities, code-named NASA.
Since June, Ren Xiaofeng, former senior principal scientist at Amazon and a Chinese citizen, has taken on the role as chief scientist and deputy dean at Alibaba's Institute of Data Science and Technologies, its global research and development center, the company confirmed.
Ren is recruiting a world-class computer vision team at a fast-expanding site in Bellevue, in the US.
In his four years at Amazon, Ren was the lead scientist at Amazon Go, using computer vision and machine learning, to transform retailing.
Prior to Amazon, Ren also had deep experience in vision-related projects at Intel Lab.
Alibaba said that Ren's coming onboard indicated an accelerated pace to carry out the NASA project, proposed by founder Jack Ma.