Google University

Ten years after researchers at Carnegie Mellon created Lycos, one of the Web’s first search engines, Internet giant Google announced that it will open a remote engineering office in Pittsburgh. Google has appointed Carnegie Mellon University professor Andrew Moore, of the School of Computer Science, as director of the new office.

Google, now the most widely accessed search engine on Earth, announced in 2005 that its search engine had an index of over 8.1 billion pages. As it continues to grow, Google needs more engineers to research new ways of sorting through its massive index of data — and it’s turning to Carnegie Mellon to provide this research.

In a 2005 press release regarding the new office, Google stated many qualified Carnegie Mellon graduates are choosing to stay in Pittsburgh rather than travel to other metropolitan areas with Google offices.

“There are, of course, many draws to other geographical regions, but Pittsburgh continues to be a destination point,” said Kevin Wesley, assistant vice-president for University Advancement and deputy director of Alumni Relations. Of the almost 68,000 active alumni on record, 12,900 have chosen to reside in Pittsburgh. “The city provides a lot of really wonderful quality of life benefits that are attractive to alumni.”

According to Google spokesperson Sonya Boralv, Google wants to take advantage of the high concentration of qualified graduates in Pittsburgh.

“The philosophy at Google is to build where great engineers are. We see Pittsburgh as a place with a commitment to education,” Boralv said. “We are going where the talent is.”

The new engineering office will deal with Google’s technical aspects, focusing on its search engine and related technologies. Pittsburgh engineers will have to collaborate with several other Google facilities in the U.S., as well as research and development offices in Japan, India, England, and Switzerland.

“What kind of facility it will be depends lot on who we get. A lot of great products come from these remote sites,” Boralv said, indicating that Google’s plans for the new office are not set in stone.

Though Google has not settled on a site for the new office, Boralv notes the office’s size will depend on the number of well-qualified people in the Pittsburgh area. As director, Moore will play a key role in crafting a team of engineers for the new office.

“Although we’ll start small, we plan to grow aggressively with a team of top-ranked creative engineers. The folks in the Pittsburgh office, including myself, will be heavily involved in all stages of recruiting,” Moore said.

Moore, who took a faculty position in the School of Computer Science over a decade ago. He helps lead a research group, the Auton Lab, which works to produce new methods of statistical data mining.

Moore has been informally involved with Google for several years through friends and graduate students who moved to Google.

“With Google, I think machine learning is the strongest match,” Moore said. “I’ve always been interested in machine learning algorithms that can cope with very large amounts of data, so Google is an amazing place to be.”

“Andrew has an incredible reputation as an amazing computer scientist and we are really excited,” Boralv said.

Boralv expressed Google’s hopes that job opportunities created by the new office would keep creative minds in Pittsburgh.

“We are hoping that qualified graduates will choose to stay in Pittsburgh and work with Google,” Boralv said.