Yandex and HSE – St. Petersburg to Open a Natural Language Laboratory
The laboratory will study natural language texts, develop deep learning methods for their generation, and analyze computational linguistic data. Yandex, as a project partner, will help attract leading experts in artificial intelligence and data analysis to work in the laboratory on a long-term basis. The laboratory will be headed by Ivan Yamshchikov, Yandex Research Fellow and Associate Professor of Informatics at HSE University – St. Petersburg.
The laboratory will be one of a handful of such labs in Russia that focus specifically on natural language processing. The laboratory will conduct innovative research that will foster the development of technologies allowing voice assistants to communicate with people and machines to make up stories or analyze documents. It will also work to create a mathematical apparatus that is able to describe generative language models, thereby engaging in both theoretical and applied work.
The laboratory will be based at HSE’s St. Petersburg School of Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Science, which has been actively working in the field of artificial intelligence and data analysis for some time. The School regularly holds research seminars, and students and alumni participate in international conferences. Among the School’s current and former students are numerous NeurIPS competition winners. Students of the laboratory will be able to write their theses there and, in the future, join the staff and conduct further research.
‘The colossal growth in the volume of information, up to 30% per year, requires both new solutions for its processing, and new highly qualified specialists. The demand for professionals in the field is growing exponentially, and the need for research and teaching staff is especially acute,’ says HSE – St. Petersburg Director Sergei Kadochnikov. ‘The goal of our joint project with Yandex is to create a new hub of innovative development, which in the future will become a full-fledged laboratory capable of solving urgent problems in addition to producing highly qualified specialists, which remain in critical short supply.’
‘I am from St. Petersburg, so I’m very pleased that we are creating a laboratory here,’ says Laboratory Head Ivan Yamshchikov. ‘Yandex has unique world-class expertise in machine learning. When you combine this expertise with the experience and dynamism of HSE University, along with the atmosphere of creative search and freedom of thought, which is traditional for St. Petersburg — what you get is everything you could possibly dream of for a research lab.’
The creation of the laboratory in St. Petersburg is a continuation of HSE’s longstanding collaborative partnership with Yandex. Under the partnership, HSE University opened its Faculty of Computer Science, which houses a Joint Department with Yandex as well as the Yandex Laboratory, launched in March 2020. The lab conducts research in data science and prepares students for careers as professional researchers in the field. The two laboratories, whose areas of focus are quite close, will collaborate on a number of projects.
Sergey M. Kadochnikov
Ivan P. Yamshchikov