Judea Pearl, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, has been awarded the prestigious Turing Award this week.
Pearl, 75, was being honored for “innovations that enabled remarkable advances in the partnership between humans and machines,” the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) stated.
Pearl is a professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was born in Tel Aviv in 1936 and earned degrees from Technion in Israel, Rutgers University and Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. Pearl is considered a philosopher as well as a computer scientist.
He is the father of Daniel Pearl, a journalist for The Wall Street Journal who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002.
Judea Pearl’s accomplishments over the last 30 years have provided the theoretical basis for progress in artificial intelligence and led to extraordinary achievements in machine learning. His research laid the foundation for such inventions as the iPhone’s Siri speech recognition technology and Google’s driverless cars.
“His work serves as the standard method for handling uncertainty in computer systems, with applications ranging from medical diagnosis, homeland security and genetic counseling to natural language understanding and mapping gene expression data,” the ACM said.
“His influence extends beyond artificial intelligence and even computer science, to human reasoning and the philosophy of science,” it added.
Pearl has been honored by the industry and his peers many times. Last year he was inducted into the IEEE’s (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) AI Hall of Fame, and he received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computers and Cognitive Science from the Franklin Institute in 2008.
The Turing award, named for British mathematician Alan M. Turing and considered the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” carries a $250,000 prize sponsored by computer chip giant Intel and Internet titan Google.