Canadian researchers win $1 million Turing Award for teaching AI to learn like humans


Two Canadian researchers have received a $1 million USD (about $1.34 million CAD) Turing Award for co-developing an artificial intelligence (AI) that can be taught to learn like humans.

Specifically, this AI is able to study examples to find and recognize patterns and acquire new skills, similar to how the human brain works.

The two Canadians, Yoshua Bengio, Université de Montréal professor and scientific director of Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute Mila, and Geoffrey Hinton, University of Toronto emeritus professor and vice president at Google, worked on the AI alongside Yann LeCun, New York University professor and vice-president and chief AI scientist for Facebook.

While American himself, LeCun has a history in Canada, having done his postdoctoral work at Hinton’s UofT lab. The two have worked on AI since the 80s and together, they created an AI that can recognize handwritten numbers on cheques in the 90s.

Hinton, meanwhile, created a deep learning system in 2012 with his students that can outperform hand-programmed computers in an image recognition competition called ImageNet.

The Association for Computing Machinery, which hands out the annual Turing award (sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing”), recognized all three researchers due to the findings that came out of their respective decades-long work.

Source: CBC