Turing Award won by King's graduate Geoffrey Hinton

It has just been announced that King's alumnus Geoffrey Hinton (KC 1967) has won the 2018 Alan Turing Award in recognition of his "conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing". The Award, jointly given to fellow Artificial Intelligence pioneers Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun, is often referred to as "The Nobel Prize of Computing".

Hinton, who studied Natural Sciences at King's, is most noted for his work on artificial neural networks, a form of machine learning loosely modelled on the web of neurons in the human brain, whereby systems can learn discrete tasks by analysing huge amounts of data. The techniques he has helped to develop have enabled significant breakthroughs in tasks such as speech and image recognition, and have had a major effect on the proliferation of AI technologies ranging from self-driving cars to automated medical diagnoses. He is currently an Emeritus Professor at the University of Toronto alongside his work for Google.

It is not the first time that a King's graduate has won the Turing Award; the late Robin Milner (KC 1954) was given the prize in 1991, and in 2010 it was awarded to computational theorist Leslie Valiant (KC 1967). During their undergraduate studies, Hinton and Valiant lived in adjacent rooms on "X" staircase in Bodley's Court - the same staircase in which Alan Turing lived and wrote his seminal paper 'On Computable Numbers' in 1936!

27 March 2019