Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning News

Liskov Wins Turing Award

MIT's Barbara Liskov is the 55th person, and the second woman, to win the ACM A.M. Turing Award.
  1. Introduction
  2. ACM A.M. Turing Award
  3. Lovelace Medal
  4. Roger Needham Award
  5. Distinguished Service Award
  6. Senior Scientist Award
  7. Overton Prize
  8. Vannevar Bush Award
  9. Footnotes
MIT Institute Professor and 2008 ACM A.M. Turing Award Winner Barbara Liskov

Awards were recently announced by ACM, the British Computer Society, the Computing Research Association, the International Society for Computational Biology, and the National Science Foundation honoring innovative researchers for their contributions to the fields of engineering and computer science.

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ACM A.M. Turing Award

Association for Computing Machinery

Barbara Liskov, a professor of engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the winner of the 2008 ACM A.M. Turing Award. Liskov was cited for her foundational innovations to designing and building the pervasive computer system designs that power daily life. Her achievements in programming language design have made software more reliable and easier to maintain. They are now the basis of every important programming language since 1975, including Ada, C++, Java, and C#.

Previously, computer programs were composed of strings of numbers and characters, but Liskov’s work led to the development of object-oriented programming, now the most widespread approach to software development. "Her elegant solutions have enriched the research community, but they have also had a practical effect as well," says ACM president Wendy Hall. "They have led to the design and construction of real products that are more reliable than were believed practical not long ago. In addition to her design features, she focused on engineering innovations that changed the way people thought about programming languages and building complex software. These accomplishments were instrumental in moving concepts out of academia and into the real world."

The Turing Award, widely considered the Nobel Prize in computing, is named for the British mathematician Alan M. Turing. The award carries a $250,000 prize, with financial support provided by Intel Corporation and Google Inc.

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Lovelace Medal

British Computer Society

Yorick Wilks, a professor of artificial intelligence at Sheffield University, won the Lovelace Medal for his pioneering work on developing virtual agents to assist older people. "I am delighted the BCS is able to recognize the outstanding and sustained contribution Professor Wilks has made during his career to the subject of AI through such a prestigious award," says BCS chief executive David Clarke. "The increasing complexity of the Web will have a profound impact on the way everyone, including the elderly, will live in the future and his work will have a lasting impact on society."

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Roger Needham Award

British Computer Society

Byron Cook, a researcher at Microsoft Research at Cambridge University and a professor of computer science at Queen Mary, University of London, won the Needham Award for his creation of TERMINATOR, the first practical tool for automatically proving termination of real-world, imperative programs. "TERMINATOR caused a major stir in the program verification research community when it appeared because it extended Alan Turing’s statement on the halting of programs," according to BCS’s award announcement. "It has rapidly spilled beyond research circles to the point where TERMINATOR is to be productized by the Windows kernel team."

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Distinguished Service Award

Computing Research Association

Eugene Spafford, executive director of CERIAS at Purdue University, won the 2009 Distinguished Service Award in honor of his being "an effective and tireless advocate for the cause of information security research," noted the Computing Research Association in its announcement. "He has been instrumental in keeping public attention on this important research area."

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Senior Scientist Award

International Society for Computational Biology

A professor of computer science at Pennsylvania State University, Webb Miller won the Senior Scientist Award for his extensive research in vertebrate genome sequencing.

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Overton Prize

International Society for Computational Biology

Trey Ideker, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego, who has developed several influential bioinformatics methods and resources, received the Overton Prize as "a scientist in early- or mid-career who has already made a significant contribution to computational biology."

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Vannevar Bush Award

National Science Foundation

Millie Dresselhaus, a professor of physics and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was honored with the Vannevar Bush Award for "for her leadership through public service in science and engineering, her perseverance and advocacy in increasing opportunities for women in science, and for her extraordinary contributions in the field of condensed-matter physics and nanoscience."

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