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‘Nobel Prize of computing’ goes to AI trio

LeCun, Bengio and Hinton
Facebook’s Yann LeCun, Mila’s Yoshua Bengio and Google’s Geoffrey Hinton share the 2018 Turing Award. (ACM Photos)

The three recipients of the Association for Computing Machinery’s 2018 Turing Award, known as the “Nobel Prize of computing,” are sharing the $1 million award for their pioneering work with artificial neural networks — but that’s not all they share.

Throughout their careers, the researchers’ career paths and spheres of influence in the field of artificial intelligence have crossed repeatedly.

Yann LeCun, vice president and chief AI scientist at Facebook, conducted postdoctoral research under the supervision of Geoffrey Hinton, who is now a vice president and engineering fellow at Google. LeCun also worked at Bell Labs in the early 1990s with Yoshua Bengio, who is now a professor at the University of Montreal and an adviser for Microsoft’s AI initiative.

All three also participate in the Learning in Machines and Brains program sponsored by CIFAR, previously known as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

In the March 27 award announcement, ACM credited the trio with rekindling the AI community’s interest in deep neural networks — thus laying the groundwork for today’s rapid advances in machine learning.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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