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DeepMind natural language expert joins Cambridge Quantum Computing as head of AI

by Ben Wodecki
Article ImageReuniting with former Oxford collaborator

Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) has appointed former DeepMind research scientist Professor Stephen Clark as its head of AI.

Clark joins CQC, which develops commercial tools for quantum technologies, having spent over four years at DeepMind, where he led a team working on grounded language learning in virtual environments.

A ‘world-class’ hire

Clark holds an Honorary Professorship at the Queen Mary University of London. Prior to his time at DeepMind, he spent a decade as a member of faculty at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Computer Science and Technology, where he was a reader in natural language processing.

Clark has also spent time in Oxford University’s Department of Computer Science, and as a Fellow of Keble College, Oxford.

CQC CEO Ilyas Khan commented, “[Clark] is a world-class scientist of the absolute highest standing, and I am excited at the perspective and leadership he brings at this vital time of our development.

“As head of AI, [Clark] will advance our mission of making the most of quantum computing hardware in these early stages of their development, as we create applications that will affect humanity as a whole when quantum computers scale and approach fault tolerance."

The natural language processing expert recently penned papers on Formalizing Concepts as Grounded Abstractions and Imitating Interactive Intelligence.

Move to accelerate research

Commenting on his move, Professor Clark said he was “delighted” to be joining CQC, expressing his joy at reuniting with Professor Bob Coecke, the company’s chief scientist. The pair studied at Oxford at the same time, with the latter still working at the university as a professor of quantum foundations, logics, and structures.

Clark expressed his excitement about exploring the potential of quantum computers in AI generally.

“I am also very excited that I will be continuing, indeed accelerating a research program in language processing that started 15 years ago when I presented at OASIS (The Oxford Advanced Seminar on Informatic Structures), setting out the problem of composing distributed representations in language, which seems especially well-suited to a solution based on quantum computation,” he said.

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