A recent New York Times online Bits segment included a piece by Steve Lohr titled “Another Win for Artificial Intelligence: the Turing Award”, which briefly profiled the recent recipient of the 2010 Turing Award, Mr. Leslie G. Valiant, a Harvard professor whose work laid the theoretical foundations for machine learning, a vital computing ingredient in modern applications like spam filters, internet search, speech recognition and computer vision. In machine learning, the computer scans vast stores of data, uncovers patterns, and generates rules for predicting results with increasing accuracy. Much of the award-winning professor’s pioneering research in machine learning was done in the 1980s.
The Turing Award, sometimes called the Nobel of computer science, seeks to highlight the here-and-now impact of a technological advancement that is also deeply rooted in research. The prize, named for Alan Turing, the British mathematician and World War II code breaker, carries a $250,000.00 award. Winners are selected based on their contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community, typically with impact of lasting and major technical importance to the computer field. The award is underwritten by Intel and Google, and administered by the Association for Computing Machinery. Click here for a list of award winners, since 1966, and their citations.
The field of artificial intelligence has gained a surge of interest from a wider audience in recent years, consistent, no doubt, with our world having evolved into an Information Age, marked by an ever-expanding influence of computational processes and ongoing innovation in the development and refinement of applications for these increasingly sophisticated technologies. The Bits segment points to IBM’s supercomputer Watson, a recent champion on Jeopardy!, the popular television quiz show. Watson is able to analyze the meaning and context of human language and rapidly process information, finding answers to questions in seconds, elementarily indeed. A markedly learned, seeming miraculous machine, Watson’s is a genius born of powerful analytics and system technologies.
The short segment goes on to suggest current topical coverage worth investigating: in particular, an article that looks at how teams of expensive lawyers are being superseded by much less expensive software in the “Smarter Than You Think” series of The New York Times; also of interest, The Atlantic’s March cover story.
In this epoch of information, a career in IT puts you right in the heart of the matter. Click here to learn more about professional opportunities at LTI.