Secretive London-based company specializes in combining machine learning to build general-purpose learning algorithms.
Google is expanding its ambitions in artificial intelligence with the acquisition of AI company DeepMind for a reported $400 million.
DeepMind's Web site describes the London-based company as "cutting edge" and specializing in combining "the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms." The site says the company's initial commercial applications are simulations, e-commerce, and games.
The deal, which was first reported by Recode, was confirmed to CNET by a Google representative who declined to discuss the terms of the deal. Google CEO Larry Page spearheaded the deal personally, according to Recode.
Google's reported acquisition of DeepMind comes less than a year after the Web giant announced the opening of a new lab that uses a quantum computer to advance machine learning. Hosted by NASA's Ames Research Center, the D-Wave Systems computer is made available to researchers around the world to work on their own projects.
Google has been particularly focused on advances in artificial intelligence recently. Scientists working on the company's secretive X Labs created a neural network for machine learning by connecting 16,000 computer processors and then unleashed it on the Internet. The network's performance exceeded researchers' expectations, doubling its accuracy rate in identifying objects from a list of 20,000 items.
Updated at 7:20 p.m. PT with Google confirmation of the acquisition.