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Turing Prize Awarded for Deep Learning AI

Geoffrey Hinton (an artificial intelligence expert), Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun share the Turing Award (sometimes referred to as 'the Nobel Prize of computing') for deep learning.

Prof Hinton's great-great-grandfather was mathematician George Boole who invented Boolean logic, which later became a key concept in computer science.

They are proponents of deep learning, a popular form of AI. "The three of us have been the people who most believed in this approach," said Geoffrey Hinton.

"It's very nice to be recognised now that it is fashionable."

A deep neural network uses many layers of artificial neurons, loosely mimicking the structure of animal brains. Such AI is increasingly used in products that people use every day - from smart speakers to Facebook.

Deep learning is also seen as a promising, though not flawless, tool for the development of self-driving cars and other futuristic technologies. When such networks digest data, their many neurons have individual responses within each layer. These outputs are passed to the next layer until the network finally forms a decision or judgement about the input. A system such as this can learn, for example, to transcribe human speech or recognise a person's face in different photographs.

The 2019 Turing Award recipients' various engineering breakthroughs - made independently and, in some cases, together - had turned deep learning into 'a critical component of computing', according to the Association for Computing Machinery, which announced the award.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British inventor of the world wide web, won the Turing Award in 2017.

In 2015, Prof Hinton said that he did not fear a hostile attack on humanity by AI, though he acknowledged there was still "a lot to worry about".

Source: ACM Awards


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