ACM and Infosys Foundation Announce Winner of New Award Honoring Contemporary Contributions in Computer Science
NEW YORK and BANGALORE, INDIA, April 28, 2008: ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) announced today that Daphne Koller, a professor at Stanford University, has been awarded the first-ever ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in Computing Sciences. Koller, 39, is being recognized for her innovative approach to Artificial Intelligence (AI) that allows computers to reason and learn about the world from real-world data. By combining the previously incompatible tools of logic and probability that are the basic principles of intelligent reasoning, she created a new field of learning that has transformed the way computers can process vast amounts of diverse, uncertain, often-conflicting data to solve complex real-world problems.
This new award, announced in August 2007, recognizes personal contributions by young scientists and system developers to a contemporary innovation that exemplifies the greatest recent achievements in the computing field. Financial support for the $150,000 award is provided by an endowment from the Infosys Foundation.
"Professor Koller's advances have been productive not only for computer science, but in a wide variety of applications that use computing to advance society in numerous ways," said Stuart I. Feldman, President of ACM. "Her research has been used as a framework to solve problems in such diverse fields as computational biology and epidemiology; language processing systems; robotics; and computer perception in understanding images. By using her models and algorithms to integrate small bits and pieces of data in systematic ways that produce stronger conclusions, her work offers a powerful way to think about the world. She is an ideal choice for the first recipient of this award, so generously donated by Infosys," said Feldman, who is vice president of Engineering at Google Inc.
Koller's research aims to build intelligent systems using techniques that underlie rational reasoning and learning. It unifies ideas from relational logic, which involves reasoning about objects and the relationships between them, and probability, which provides tools for dealing with uncertainty. Her synthesis of logic and probability is known as probabilistic relational modeling. She has also developed new mathematical and computational tools that allow us to learn from complex data the probabilistic rules that model the world, and to use these rules to reach strong conclusions about the world.
"The ACM-Infosys Foundation Award recognizes young researchers who are currently making sizeable contributions to their fields and furthering computer science innovation. The goal is to identify scientifically-sound breakthrough research with potentially broad implications, and encourage the recipients to further their research," said S. Gopalakrishnan, CEO and managing director, Infosys Technologies. "Daphne Koller is a shining example of a pioneering researcher whose multi-disciplinary work in artificial intelligence is enabling computers to operate at a new level and solve complex problems spanning epidemiology, robotics and language processing systems."
Koller also heads Stanford's undergraduate research program in computer science (CS), which she initiated in 2001. It provides summer research internships to encourage students to get involved in CS research with faculty mentors early in their careers. To date, nearly three hundred students have benefited from this program. In 2003, Koller was awarded the Cox Medal for excellence in fostering undergraduate research at Stanford.
In 2004, Koller was named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2001, she received the Computer and Thought Award from the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), and in 1999, she was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
Koller has served the computing community in a variety of professional roles, including Program Chair for the 2007 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), and the 2001 Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence. She was associate editor for the
Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research and Machine Learning Journal. She is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed articles in publications that span
Science, Nature Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, Machine Learning, and Games and Economic Behavior.
Koller received a B.Sc. in mathematics and a M.Sc. degree in computer science from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. She earned a Ph.D. degree from Stanford and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. She joined the Stanford faculty in 1995.
ACM will present the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award at the annual ACM Awards Banquet on June 21, 2008, in San Francisco, CA. For more information, click on