Facebook as we speak introduced that it plans to cancel its 2020-2021 in-person AI Residency program because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. In a press release offered to VentureBeat through e-mail, Facebook vice chairman of AI Jerome Pesenti mentioned that the choice was motivated by well being and security issues.

“We continue to put the health and safety of our community first as we respond to changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we have decided not to move forward with the 2020-2021 AI Residency Program,” Pesenti mentioned. “An optimal and consistent hands-on residency experience is critically important to the program’s success, and this isn’t possible in a remote format. We look forward to keeping in touch with this year’s candidates for future opportunities.”

When requested why this system was canceled outright moderately than delayed, a Facebook spokesperson mentioned this might’ve created timing conflicts with college students’ commencement dates, Ph.D. purposes, and tutorial convention deadlines. They added that present residents’ packages can be prolonged to assist in giving them extra time to complete their analysis, and that Facebook stays dedicated to providing residencies the place and when it’s attainable to take action.

Facebook’s AI Residency program is a paid one-year place that pairs candidates with a Facebook AI researcher and an engineer. With the workforce, residents choose a analysis downside of mutual curiosity and devise new machine studying methods to unravel it. Facebook encourages collaborations past the assigned mentors and ensures the analysis is communicated to the tutorial group, mainly by submitting papers to tutorial venues like NeurIPS, ICLR, and CVPR in addition to open supply code releases and/or Facebook merchandise.

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Facebook isn’t alone in providing an AI residency program, although it’s one of many few that prohibits distant participation. OpenAI, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, amongst others, present alternatives for college kids and professionals to conduct analysis alongside programmers, information scientists, and product managers.

The pandemic has impacted numerous Facebook’s operations, together with bodily occasions and work out of its workplaces globally. In April, the corporate mentioned it might chorus from internet hosting conferences with 50 or extra folks by way of not less than June 2021, and it continues to permit full-time staff to earn a living from home.

In a blog post printed in March, Facebook Research director Daron Green mentioned the corporate was “planning new ways” to foster its on-line analysis group and help distant collaboration and networking, for instance by way of Q&As with researchers and facilitated digital networking. “We are dedicated to continuing our research activities and specifically our external academic investments, despite the challenges we are all facing,” he wrote. “These investments include conference sponsorships, requests for proposals, our fellowship program, university lab investments, and sponsored research.”