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Facebook to explore Artificial Intelligence in new lab

The social network hires New York University professor Yann LeCun -- expert in machine learning and mobile robotics -- to run its AI Group research lab.

Facebook's global footprint.

Google isn't the only major tech company dabbling in artificial intelligence -- Facebook is also getting into the game. And, to prove it, the social network just hired an expert in machine learning and mobile robotics to run its AI lab.

New York University professor Yann LeCun announced on his Facebook and Google+ pages on Monday that Facebook has created a new AI research lab and hired him to be its director. The long-term goal of the lab, dubbed AI Group, is to bring about "major advances in Artificial Intelligence," LeCun wrote.

Part of the deal is that Facebook and NYU's Center for Data Science will partner to explore data science, machine learning, and AI. LeCun will also continue to be a NYU professor on a part-time basis.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to announce the news during his presentation at a conference for Neural Information Processing Systems.

Google recently opened its own AI lab, named the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab. The goal of this lab is to research whether a quantum computer can solve problems that are too taxing for traditional computers. The tech giant also hired famed inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil to work on machine learning and language processing.

While Google is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to investment and research in space-age projects, Facebook has the scale and relevance to also be a contender. Facebook's AI Group will have three locations, in Menlo Park, Calif., London, UK, and New York City.