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Pittsburgh AI company Petuum opens office in Silicon Valley

Aaron Aupperlee
| Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, 9:06 a.m.

Pittsburgh is no stranger to companies in Silicon Valley opening offices in the city.

For tech titans like Google, Apple and Facebook and smaller companies like Autodesk and Citrine Informatics, Pittsburgh offers desirable talent in robotics, artificial intelligence, computer vision and other in-demand fields.

Petuum, however, is going in the opposite direction and looking West. The Pittsburgh born-and-bred AI startup announced Tuesday it opened a new office in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The Strip District-based company plans to hire 50 people at the Sunnyvale office by the end of the year and wants to collaborate with Silicon Valley neighbors. Petuum will keep its headquarters in Pittsburgh, where it employs more than 50 people.

Petuum made a big splash in the AI startup arena last year when it announced a whopping $93 million round of funding. The deal, led by the Japanese technology company SoftBank, was among the largest investments in artificial intelligence in 2017. It landed Petuum on CB Insights AI 100, a list of the most promising artificial intelligence companies.

Petuum was founded in 2016 as a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company by Eric Xing, the company's CEO and chief scientist. The company developed a bolt-on artificial intelligence system that can be applied to many industries and processes, including healthcare, manufacturing, natural language processing and video analysis. The machine learning platform is flexible, easy to use and lowers the typically high barrier to entry for artificial intelligence, the company claims.

Silicon Valley puts Petuum close to SoftBank, which has an office in nearby San Carlos, and two new members of its advisory board, Michael I. Jordan of the University of California Berkeley and Stephen P. Boyd of Stanford University.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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