J.P. Morgan poaches machine learning guru to help build New York AI team

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To say that J.P. Morgan is going all-in on artificial intelligence almost seems like an understatement. After making two big-name AI hires last year, the bank just brought on another renowned AI and machine learning specialist who is already actively recruiting engineers to help build out his team. Tucker Balch started at J.P. Morgan as a managing director within its new AI Research group earlier this month.

The move comes a few months after J.P. Morgan successfully lured away one of Google’s best AI minds, Apoorv Saxena, as its global head of AI technology. Saxena is building an AI and machine learning team ahead of the launch of the bank’s new fintech campus in Palo Alto, California, conveniently sandwiched right in between the campuses of Google and Facebook. And earlier in the year, J.P. Morgan hired Manuela Veloso, head of the machine learning department at Carnegie Mellon, to lead its AI research initiatives.

Now the bank has added Balch, who, like Veloso, spent almost two decades as an academic. He has been working as a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, specializing in machine learning research. He also co-founded Lucena Research, which uses AI to create algorithms and data for investment professionals. His graduated students work at NASA, Boston Dynamics, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citadel and AQR, among others. Before his career in academia, Balch was a United States Air Force F-15 pilot.

While only just starting, Balch is already actively looking to grow the team in New York. He just posted a note on LinkedIn that says the group is looking to make both experienced and student hires, preferably with a master’s or PhD in computer engineering or finance. With Saxena pushing to add AI talent in Silicon Valley, Balch and others are working to do the same on the East Coast.

J.P. Morgan and Balch declined to comment on the hire. 

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