Antonio Torralba appointed director of the MIT Quest for Intelligence

June 11, 2018

To the members of the MIT community:    

I am writing to let you know that Antonio Torralba has been named the inaugural director of the MIT Quest for Intelligence, effective immediately. An expert in computer vision, machine learning, and human visual perception, Antonio is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, the MIT director of the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab, and a principal investigator at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). As The Quest is fundamentally a collaboration, we are excited to watch him build on the success he has had leading the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab. Along with the vision and insight he shows in his research, Antonio has remarkable talents as a convener of people and an enabler of connections. 

Given The Quest’s scale and breadth of ambition, I have also appointed a robust leadership team to work with Antonio in furthering the initiative’s goals. Complete details are available here.

Launched on February 1 of this year, The Quest is a campus-wide initiative to discover the foundations of intelligence and to drive the development of technological tools that can positively influence virtually every aspect of society. After its launch, several colleagues noted the negative historical and racial associations around the acronym IQ. In light of these concerns, MIT leadership has decided to change the name of the new initiative from the MIT Intelligence Quest to the MIT Quest for Intelligence.

I would like to extend my deep appreciation to this new leadership team, and to the many faculty who have helped us get this remarkable initiative off to such a powerful start. We look forward to the many advances and discoveries that are to come as we embark on The Quest.  


Martin A. Schmidt