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For Michigan Professor, Computer Science Is Much More Than a Job


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Computer scientist Jason Mars at work.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed an open platform for intelligent assistants.

Credit: Big Ten Network

University of Michigan (U-M) researchers have developed Sirius, an open platform for intelligent assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Now.

U-M professor Jason Mars says the researchers developed Sirius because these kinds of infrastructures had been locked up at private companies, and the world did not have an end-to-end application that provided similar kinds of technology.

Through the development of Sirius and other research, the U-M team made several discoveries. For example, they found intelligent assistants are extremely inefficient compared to basic search engines, and since they require massive data centers to operate, a huge amount of energy is needed to match future worldwide growth in intelligent-assistant use. "If you had as many people using Siri or Cortana as you had people using Web search, it turns out that our data center infrastructure wouldn't be able to support that kind of load," Mars says.

In January, Mars received a U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER grant to make intelligent assistants more efficient and intelligent. Mars says the new technology would recognize voice, offer personalized summaries of articles, and determine the mood of the user by analyzing texts.

From Big Ten Network
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