In addition to Yoshua Bengio, the Frenchman Yann Le Cun and the British Geoffrey Hinton and Demis Hassabis received an award.
Researcher Yoshua Bengio has received a major prize in Spain.
Four scientists considered to be pioneers in artificial intelligence, including Montrealer Yoshua Bengio, were rewarded on Wednesday by the Spanish Princess of Asturias Prize, for their “extraordinary” contribution in many areas. This is one of the most prestigious awards in the Spanish-speaking world.
In addition to Yoshua Bengio, the Frenchman Yann Le Cun and the British Geoffrey Hinton and Demis Hassabis were jointly rewarded in the Science category, for having enabled the full integration of artificial intelligence in society, estimated the jury.
“Their contributions to the development of deep learning [deep learning] have enabled great progress in areas as diverse as voice recognition […], object perception, machine translation, strategy optimization, protein structure analysis, medical diagnostics and many more,” it was clarified.
Due to the breadth of disciplines in which these advances are applied, the The current and future impact of their work on the progress of society can be described as extraordinary, according to the jury.
Yoshua Bengio, 58, Yann Le Cun, 61, and Geoffrey Hinton, 74, had already been awarded the Turing Prize in 2018, considered the Nobel Prize for computer scientists. For his part, Demis Hassabis, 45, who in 2017 was among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, received the Wiley Prize for Biomedical Sciences in 2021.
Yoshua Bengio specialized in probabilistic sequence models, which over time have led to improved speech and handwriting recognition.
Geoffrey Hinton created in 1986 so-called backpropagation algorithms, tools with which he succeeded in designing, in 2012, a neural network, called AlexNet, capable of recognizing objects with only 26% errors.
For his part, Yann Le Cun based himself on these same backpropagation algorithms to manufacture, in 1989, LeNet5, a system which made it possible to recognize with sufficient certainty characters written on bank checks, for example.
He was more recently one of the promoters of an image compression system that allows viewing of scanned documents on the Internet, a technology used by millions of people every day.
As for Demis Hassabis, he founded DeepMind, a subsidiary of Google which is developing a new artificial intelligence system applicable to research and capable of for example, to predict the structure of more than 350,000 human proteins, according to the jury.
The Princess of Asturias Awards, awarded since 1981 in eight categories, are endowed with a scholarship of 50,000 euros (67,000 Canadian dollars).
They are named after the hero heiress to the Spanish throne, Princess Leonor, eldest daughter of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, and are handed over each October by the Royal Family at a ceremony in Oviedo, Asturias, in the northwest of the country.