USA - 1995
For pathbreaking contributions to the application of computer science research in chemistry and biology; and for leadership in building a computer-networked community of workers in these areas.
The ACM Allen Newell Award to Joshua Lederberg honors his distinguished interdisciplinary contributions to computer science and biology. In 1964, he designed and programmed an important algorithm for enumeration of chemical structures. Subsequently, he collaborated with researchers in chemistry and artificial intelligence on a heuristic program (Heuristic DENDRAL) for hypothesizing chemical structures from physical spectral data. This work was the progenitor of the class of AI applications called expert systems, now the largest class of AI applications. He collaborated on the landmark Meta-DENDRAL learning program for interring some elements of the theory of mass spectrometry from chemical data.
He continued the collaboration with AI scientists in the MOLGEN program, the first large-scale application of computer methods to molecular biology, thereby pioneering in an area that is now of great importance to science.
In the early 1970s, when interactive and networked computers were new, he envisioned a national networked community of investigators across the disciplines of computer science, medicine, and biology. Under his leadership, the AIM (AI-in-Medicine) community emerged and was an important force in AI research and applications.