Amazon Fellow, Caltech
Pietro joined Amazon in September 2017 to help bring artificial intelligence to the cloud. His goal at Amazon is to create new computer vision services to allow customers to analyze images and video streams automatically, supporting AWS’s goal to make computer vision available to everyone anywhere through smart devices and through the cloud.
Our services will be able to understand images and video, by identifying objects, understanding shapes, classifying behaviors and interactions and placing them in context, discovering cause and effect, learning from example. Applications will include autonomous mobile platforms, home automation, entertainment, surveillance, transportation and manufacturing.
Currently Pietro is on leave from his position as a Professor of Computer Vision at Caltech to work at AWS. “As a professor you get to study anything that makes you curious,”he says, and although Pietro is mostly interested in computational and biological vision, he has written papers on portraiture in art, from the Renaissance to now, and on how to make flies angry, or fall in love, to study how their brain processes emotions. When he’s not working, he likes to hike and ski with his family, sail, read books, go to art shows, and eat good food.
In science, like at Amazon, we emphasize the value of curiosity, discovery, taking action and taking risks to pursue high-payoff goals.
During the past three months Pietro has been observing and absorbing Amazon’s culture. “You will be surprised, but it is very similar to the culture at the best academic institutions. In science, like at Amazon, we emphasize the value of curiosity, discovery, taking action and taking risks to pursue high-payoff goals, working in lean-and-mean teams and making fast progress. Like academic institutions, the company emphasizes the importance of nurturing promising individuals and the importance of teaching what you learn. Abhorrence of bureaucracy and of dogmas is another commonality.”
He is very impressed with the intellectual honesty and clarity of thought of everyone he has met. Pietro loves meeting people at Amazon. “There are old-timers and there are many new-timers like me with interesting life stories and experiences in different industries. As an academic, it is refreshing to learn how the `real world’ functions. If you believe that the future is going to be better than the past, it is great fun to be in one of the places where the future is being invented.”
Learn more about our Amazon Scholars program.