The ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) this morning announced Geoffrey Hinton, Yann LeCun and Yoshua Bengio as its 2018 Turing Award winners. The trio were honoured “for conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing.”
The ACM established the Turing Award in 1966 to recognize individuals who have made important contributions to the computer industry. The prestigious award is widely referred to the “Nobel Prize of the Computer Industry” and comes along with US$1 million courtesy of Google. It is named after British mathematician Alan M. Turing, whose work laid the foundation for computer science and artificial intelligence.
Geoffrey Hinton is Vice President and Engineering Fellow at Google, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Vector Institute, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Toronto. Yann LeCun is a Professor at New York University and Vice President and Chief AI scientist at Facebook. Yoshua Bengio is a Professor at the University of Montréal and the head of the artificial intelligence organization MILA (Montréal Institute of Learning Algorithms).
Working both independently and collaboratively, Hinton, LeCun, and Bengio developed the conceptual foundations of deep learning, and along the way verified and built on the technique’s often surprising abilities. They also contributed engineering advances and demonstrated the practical advantages of deep neural networks. In recent years, deep learning methods have made great breakthroughs in applications such as computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, and robotics.
The ACM recognized Hinton for his three main contributions: Back propagation; Boltzmann machines; and improvements to convolutional neural networks. Yann LeCun was rewarded for pioneering convolutional neural networks (CNN), improving backpropagation algorithms, and broadening the perspective of neural networks. Yoshua Bengio meanwhile earned the award for his contributions in probabilistic modeling of sequences, high-dimensional word embedding and attention, and Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs).
The three artificial intelligence masters are not resting on their laurels — all three are actively exploring the intersection of machine learning with neuroscience and cognitive science, and participate in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Studies (CIFAR)’s ongoing Learning in Machines & Brains program. Hinton and Bengio are both based in Canada.
The 2018 ACM A.M. Turing Award will be presented at the ACM’s annual Awards Banquet on June 15 in San Francisco, California. Read the official announcement here.
Author: Reina Qi Wan | Editor: Michael Sarazen
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