Cause and Effect: Judea Pearl Wins Turing Prize

— Wall Street Journal

Humans have always made inferences about causes and effects, sometimes based on scanty information. Many machines do now, too, and Judea Pearl is frequently cited as a cause.The computer scientist was named the latest recipient of the high-prestige Turing Award, which is awarded annually by the Association of Computing Machinery. It comes with a $250,000 prize, provided with financial support from Google and Intel.

Pearl, a professor emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles, is credited by the ACM with developing key theoretical foundations in the field known as artificial intelligence. Much of Pearl’s work relates to the general problem of reasoning amid uncertainty, using theories about probability to make educated guesses based on limited facts, and the importance of Pearl’s work underlies many kinds of widely used technology, including speech-recognition systems, machine translation and the way Google serves up ads to Web surfers based on partial evidence it gleans about their interests.

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