Saturday, March 17, 2012

Judea Pearl awarded ACM #Turing Award

Prof. Judea Pearl
Ah it's nice to see an academic from my community, Artificial Intelligence, be awarded the ACM Turing Award. Judea Pearl, who's a professor at UCLA, has been awarded computing's Nobel Prize for his pioneering work on probabilistic reasoning and Bayesian inferencing. If you don't have any idea what that means, don't worry, you're almost certainly using a Bayesian SPAM filter to protect your email inbox anyway.
   I saw Judea Pearl give a talk at IJCAI-99 in Stockholm, where he was awarded the 1999 IJCAI Award for Research Excellence; so he's long been held in very high regard amongst AI researchers. We were all shocked then in 2002 to hear that his son, Daniel Pearl a journalist working for the Wall St. Journal, had been kidnapped and executed by militants in Pakistan. Subsequently Judea Pearl founded the Daniel Pearl Foundation to "promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications." Part of the $250,000 prize money that comes with the Turing Award will go to the foundation.
  Judea Pearl is a deserving recipient of the Turing Award.