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Computer Scientist Wins $1 Million Artificial Intelligence Prize

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Duke University's Cynthia Rudin

"We've been systematically showing that for high-stakes applications, there's no loss in accuracy to gain interpretability, as long as we optimize our models carefully," says Duke University Professor Cynthia Rudin.

Credit: YouTube

Duke University computer scientist and engineer Cynthia Rudin's work applying machine learning to predict which Con Edison manhole covers were at risk of exploding has earned her the $1 million Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

"It was the interpretability in the process that helped improve accuracy in our predictions, not any bigger or fancier machine learning model," Rudin says.

Rudin is the second recipient of the annual award, funded by the online education company Squirrel AI to recognize achievements in artificial intelligence in a manner comparable to top prizes in more traditional fields.

"Only world-renowned recognitions, such as the Nobel Prize and the A.M. Turing Award from the Association of Computing Machinery, carry monetary rewards at the million-dollar level," says AAAI awards committee chair and past president Yolanda Gil. "Professor Rudin's . . . courage in tackling controversial issues calls out the importance of research to address critical challenges in responsible and ethical use of AI."

From Duke University
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