Facebook AI and Facebook Reality Labs announce research and mentorship program with Carnegie Mellon University

April 22, 2021

Making rapid progress on the most exciting and important technology research challenges takes a shared commitment to open science and collaboration among experts at different institutions. As part of this commitment, we, together with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), have launched the Facebook Research & AI Mentorship (FRAIM) program, which gives PhD students at CMU a unique opportunity to perform their research in collaboration with both their thesis adviser and a Facebook researcher.

This expansion of our long-standing collaboration with CMU stands out in several important ways: 1) Unlike an internship, FRAIM gives these students the opportunity to develop their own projects in close collaboration with one of two distinct Facebook research teams, Facebook Reality Labs and Facebook AI. 2) By defaulting to open science, FRAIM projects enable students to use the research toward their PhD theses and help ensure the broad dissemination of research outcomes for the benefit of the academic community. 3) Projects the students take on could involve computer vision, creativity, graphics, robotics, neural architecture search, neural rendering/novel view synthesis, photorealistic avatars, and more.

“The most innovative research emerges from the collision of different ideas and perspectives,” said Yaser Sheikh, Director of Facebook Reality Labs, Pittsburgh. “The FRAIM program brings together Facebook’s industrial research scientists and engineers with CMU’s faculty and students to collaborate across multiple disciplines. I am excited by the prospect of the program, and look forward to seeing the advances it will bring about as we begin work with the first cohort of students this Spring.”

In April 2021, we welcomed our first FRAIM cohort, consisting of seven students from CMU’s School of Computer Science (SCS). All students in the FRAIM program gain access to leading researchers, mentorship, industry insights, and powerful research tools. With CMU’s Collaborative Innovation Center and Facebook’s District Fifteen office just west of the CMU campus, students selected for the program will have Facebook mentors and support right at their fingertips. Some of the research projects the students will be working on this year include “Physics prior for clothing modeling in Codec Avatars,” “Learning observation models with graph optimizers,” and “Scaling robot learning with human priors.”

“CMU’s SCS graduate program builds on expertise in computer science and gives students a strong foundation in AI and emerging technologies. Students and faculty in SCS do not shy away from big, bold ideas. We share the belief that the best education comes from hands-on experience solving real-world problems,” said Martial Hebert, dean of the School of Computer Science and professor of robotics at CMU.

We expect FRAIM will provide a valuable new opportunity for students at CMU, deepen our existing collaboration with the university, and lead to exciting research discoveries that will have a positive impact on the academic community. This strategic extension of our collaboration with CMU brings a new PhD program to its students, adding to the broad array of PhD programs we run in conjunction with academic institutions across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France.

Written By

Tony Nelli

Program Manager

Rashel Noginsky

Program Manager