Yoshua Bengio

Digital Library

ACM A. M. Turing Award

Canada - 2018

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For conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing.

Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun are the three leaders most responsible for the revolutionary role that artificial neural networks have come to play in machine learning.  Their development and relentless championing of deep neural networks has enabled enormous progress in disciplines including computer vision, speech recognition, natural language understanding, and robotics.  They developed conceptual foundations for the field, identified surprising phenomena through experiments, and contributed engineering advances that demonstrated the practical advantages of their ideas.

Unlike traditional computing models, neural networks are built from layers of units that are individually very simple but can carry out powerful computations through their pattern of connections; learning is achieved by adjusting the weights on these connections.  A topic of study for decades, neural networks advanced dramatically through a combination of key innovations by Hinton, LeCun and Bengio, sometimes working together and sometimes with others.  They recognized the importance of building deep networks using many layers, and they contributed key architectural insights for these networks such as the use of convolution and attention mechanisms.  Further insights from their work have entered common use, including embeddings, dropout methods, and rectified linear units.


Beyond the technology, deep neural networks have had a significant societal impact. In fact, anyone with a smartphone is benefitting from new deep learning capabilities, including dramatic improvements in speech recognition, image labeling and searching, preference matching, and language translation. Deep learning is now also being applied broadly across science, engineering, commerce, and healthcare, achieving expert capabilities for problems ranging from materials science discovery to medical diagnosis.

For conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing, LeCun, Bengio and Hinton have been selected to receive the recognition conferred by the Turing Award.

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