DURHAM – Want proof that machine learning and artificial intelligence are hot topics in the Triangle? Triangle Machine Learning Day at Duke University is a sellout – and has been for days.

Startup Infinia ML, led by AI thought leaders Robbie Allen and Larry Carin, is helping create the buzz that the West Coast isn’t the only place to help set the global pace.

Robbie Allen headshot

Robbie Allen

Allen, Automated Insights founder and former CEO, and Duke professor Dr. Carin,who is speaking at Tuesday’s event, are among the leaders that can help establish Triangle’s latest emerging tech hub: AI and ML. The fast-growing firm, which continues to hire after closing recently on $10 million in funding from Silicon Valley, is sponsoring Machine Learning Day as well as a Triangle AI/ML event over the weekend.

With more businesses seeking help in exploring and deploying AI/ML, Infinia offers “immediate business impact through technology solutions that are tailored to their data and business needs.” Its researchers and data scientists are “collaborating on new machine learning algorithms and their application to multiple fields, including bioinformatics, natural language processing, image recognition, and business intelligence.”

Now that’s a mouthful.

The Skinny caught up with Allen over the weekend to talk the hub – and what all is happening at Infinia.

  •  With your firm, the work IBM is doing locally with Watson and SAS as well as other firms and all university research, is the Triangle becoming a hub for machine learning research?

We intend to play a major role in elevating the Triangle as a machine learning hub on the East Coast.

Up to now, most of the good AI talent has gone to West Coast companies, but we see an opportunity to take advantage of the high quality and low cost of living in the Triangle to become a major center of machine learning talent.

We’ve seen significant demand (including from out-of-state candidates) for our open positions.

  • How does your firm fit into the mix given your fast start, talent hired to date and funding?

Given our focus on machine learning and data science, we are able to offer candidates something that is pretty rare. Larger companies may have more engineers or scientists spread out through the company, but we have a concentrated team of world class machine learning experts that new hires can learn from and collaborate with directly.

  • Can your firm bring more attention to the Triangle?

One of our goals in building in the company is to help create a thriving machine learning hub here in the Triangle.

We’ve got great talent coming out of our universities, and we want to build a company that keeps that talent here. As we succeed, we hope to help boost the Triangle’s reputation as a great place to do machine learning.

We see the Triangle and Duke Machine Learning Days as a part of that hub, and we’re excited to help them kick off their first year.

  • How does – if it does – machine learning differ from artificial intelligence? And why stress ML in your name rather than AI?

Machine learning is a specific type of artificial intelligence that is the most widely applicable in commercial settings. For us, we are focused on making business impact.

  • Why did your firm choose to sponsor the events?

These are technical, research-focused events that, to us, signify the growing importance of machine learning to our region. Our goal is to show attendees that we are building a machine learning company right here in Durham where they can apply research to real-world problems.

Machine learning students and experts are in high demand these days, and we want them to know that they have a great option here in the Triangle.

  • How is Infinia ML coming along?

We are growing an exciting client roster in industries from healthcare and human resources to legal and manufacturing. We are a multi-million-dollar business and continue to see strong demand for our services.

And of course, we are hiring!

Job posts offer a snapshot of Infinia

Two job posts at Infinia offer a snapshot of the top-drawer talent Allen is recruiting as well as the scope of ML work the firm is undertaking:

  • DATA SCIENTIST – Typical activities will include:
    • Developing and evaluating statistical models, machine learning algorithms, and data processing techniques
    • Applying deep learning techniques to large datasets through GPU-accelerated processing
    • Processing, characterizing, and managing business-critical data
    • Developing tools and libraries that support processing and analysis of datasets
  • PYTHON BACKEND ENGINEER – Typical activities will include: 
    • Design and create scalable backend infrastructure for a ML-driven application
    • Quickly distill fast-moving product requirements into tangible engineering tasks and designs
    • Be instrumental in the future development of our organization’s products and infrastructure
    • Work closely with our ML specialists to build applications with a strong focus on data-driven decisions
    • Shape our engineering culture by coming up with ideas, tools, and infrastructure wherever you see a problem to be solved
    • Have the ability to own projects from end-to-end: from design, through development, to production

Other open positions include:

Think you can meet those requirements? You can learn more online.