The Association for Computing Machinery has awarded the 2011 A.M. Turing Award, considered the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in Computing, to Judea Pearl, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Pearl is recognized for his work in transforming research in artificial intelligence (AI). From his Turing citation:
“Judea Pearl’s work has transformed artificial intelligence (AI) by creating a representational and computational foundation for the processing of information under uncertainty. Pearl’s work went beyond both the logic-based theoretical orientation of AI and its rule-based technology for expert systems.
“Equally significant is Pearl’s work on causal reasoning, where he developed a graph-based calculus of interventions that makes it possible to derive causal knowledge from the combined effects of actions and observations. This work has been transformative within AI and computer science, and has had major impact on allied disciplines of economics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and statistics.”
The A.M. Turing Award is ACM’s most prestigious technical award. Each year the winner is invited to present a lecture at the ACM Awards Banquet, and thanks to the support of the Intel Corporation and Google, the winner receives a $250,000 prize.
2012 marks the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth, which ACM will celebrate in June. In addition to his contributions to code-breaking for the British during World War II, Turing is an important figure in modern computing, making advances in computer architecture, algorithms, formalization of computing, and artificial intelligence.