He may not be a household name, but Pieter Abbeel is about as big a deal as it gets in artificial intelligence — just ask his colleagues.
Oh, he’s a star,” robotics professor Cong Wang tells Inverse. “He’s been a star since the time he was a student at Stanford, and he was a star on the job market for a faculty job. And then he became a star after he was faculty. People always talk about him and his patents.”
Abbeel has been a professor at the University of California, Berkeley since 2008, and he spent the past two years at OpenAI, Elon Musk’s A.I. research company. He recently left to found the startup Embodied Intelligence, which has received $7 million in investments and aims to develop “A.I. software that makes it easy to teach robots new, complex skills.”
The shared goal for researchers like Abbeel and Wang, who were at Berkeley together when the latter was working on his doctorate, is to create robots that don’t need to be precisely engineered to complete specific tasks.