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Surprising Science

A Good Year for A.I.

The 2010 Turing Award, announced on Wednesday, went to Leslie G. Valiant, a Harvard professor whose work laid the theoretical foundations for machine learning.

The awarding of this year’s Turing Award, sometimes called the Nobel prize for computer science, caps a good run for artificial intelligence this year. “Much of Mr. Valiant’s pioneering research in machine learning was done in the 1980s. ‘He certainly could have gotten the award a decade ago, but this was his moment,’ observed Jonathan Kleinberg, a computer scientist at Cornell University. In machine learning, the computer scans vast stores of data, uncovers patterns and generates rules for predicting results with increasing accuracy. Machine learning is a vital computing ingredient in modern applications like spam filters, Internet search, speech recognition and computer vision.”


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