The Global AI Talent Tracker
Countries, companies, and institutions around the world are mobilizing to apply the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to an enormous range of economic and social problems. That application requires bringing together several key inputs: research and engineering talent, data, computational power, and a healthy innovation ecosystem. Talent is one of the most important—and the most clearly quantifiable—of those inputs.
To assess the global balance and flow of top AI scientists we focused on what many consider the top AI conference for deep learning: Neural Information Processing Systems, a.k.a. NeurIPS. For its December 2019 conference, NeurIPS saw a record-breaking 15,920 researchers submit 6,614 papers, with a paper acceptance rate of 21.6%, making it one of the largest, most popular, and most selective AI conferences on record.
We created a unique and rich dataset of researchers with papers accepted at NeurIPS 2019, using that as a proxy for the top-tier (approximately top 20%) of AI research talent (see detailed methodology). We chose to focus on top-tier AI researchers because we believe this cohort is the most likely to lead the way on new areas of potentially breakthrough research as well as to apply AI to highly complex real-world problems.
Explore the key takeaways and view the insights from the dataset below. For our analysis of the data and other charts, click here.
- The United States has a large lead over all other countries in top-tier AI research, with nearly 60% of top-tier researchers working for American universities and companies. The US lead is built on attracting international talent, with more than two-thirds of the top-tier AI researchers working in the United States having received undergraduate degrees in other countries.
- China is the largest source of top-tier researchers, with 29% of these researchers having received undergraduate degrees in China. But the majority of those Chinese researchers (56%) go on to study, work, and live in the United States.
- Over half (53%) of all the top-tier AI researchers are immigrants or foreign nationals currently working in a different country from where they received their undergraduate degrees.