Thursday 15 March 2012

Turing Award to Judea Pearl

Today, the Association for Computing Machinery has named Dr. Judea Pearl as the recipient of the 2011 A.M. Turing Award (ACM press release), which is widely considered as the $DYNAMITE_PRIZE of computer science. The award was given for Dr. Pearl on his work for 'Develop[ing a] Novel Framework for Reasoning under Uncertainty that Changed How Scientists Approach Real World Problems'.

I have (and have read) Pearl's two major works, Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems: Networks of Plausible Inference (Morgan Kaufmann 1988) and Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference (Cambridge UP 2000) and cannot praise them highly enough. Especially the first one has had an enormous impact on AI (though not so much AI & law), these days the Bayesian methods presented in it are quite simply ubiquitous and indispensable. I do have my reservations about their applicability to representing uncertainty in law, but more about that at some other time. (I have read Pearl's 1988 UCLA technical report on Non-Bayesian Formalisms for Managing Uncertainty as well, after all.) For a more sympathetic take on Bayesianism in law, see eg. Law and Truth: A Theory of Evidence by Hannu Tapani Klami, Minna Gräns, and Johanna Sorvettula (The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters 2000).

(via NYT Bits)

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