ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences Winner – David Blei

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
April 30, 2014

The ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences recognizes personal contributions by young scientists and system developers to a contemporary innovation that, through its depth, fundamental impact and broad implications, exemplifies the greatest achievements in the discipline.

ACM recognizes David Blei, an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department of Princeton University, with the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences for his pioneering work in topic modeling of large data sets through probabilistic models.

His work on a suite of algorithms allows us to identify, analyze, and better understand thematic patterns and structures in vast document collections when manual organization and analysis would be impractical, if not impossible. The implications for businesses and consumers are far-reaching. For example, his work has practical implications for identifying patterns in computational biology and other sciences, understanding more efficient ways to search and browse archival records for relevant content, and better predicting changes based on massive amounts of data. Pragmatically, his research helps to make Big Data relevant rather than overwhelming.

ACM President Vint Cerf said that Blei’s contributions provided a basic framework for an entire generation of researchers to develop statistical modeling approaches. “His topic modeling algorithms go beyond the search and links approach to information retrieval. In an era of explosive data on the Internet, he saw the advantage of discovering the latent themes that underlie documents, and identifying how each document exhibits these themes. In fact, he changed the way machine learning researchers think about modeling text and other objects in the digital realm.”

To learn more about the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences, visit