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Leslie Valiant Wins 'Nobel Prize' of Computing

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the fast-track-to-sex-and-money dept.

News 61

autospa writes "ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery today named Leslie G. Valiant of Harvard University the winner of the 2010 ACM A.M. Turing Award for his fundamental contributions to the development of computational learning theory and to the broader theory of computer science. Valiant brought together machine learning and computational complexity, leading to advances in artificial intelligence as well as computing practices such as natural language processing, handwriting recognition, and computer vision. He also launched several subfields of theoretical computer science, and developed models for parallel computing. The Turing Award, widely considered the 'Nobel Prize in Computing,' is named for the British mathematician Alan M. Turing. The award carries a $250,000 prize, with financial support provided by Intel Corporation and Google Inc."

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Too bad... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433380)

Too bad he hasn't come up with a way for computers to extend the length of CmdrTaco's 5mm micropenis.

Re:Too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35435340)

I'm up for the next Turing award for recognizing 5mm and micro are mutually redundant.

Turing?... (3, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433452)

The Turing Award, widely considered the 'Nobel Prize in Computing,' is named for the British mathematician Alan M. Turing.

Turing, you say? Hmm, can't say I ever heard of anyone by that name. Was he famous or something?

Re:Turing?... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433492)

Was he famous or something?

Yeah, he was gay.

Re:Turing?... (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433498)

He said "famous" not "fabulous". :-P

Re:Turing?... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433534)

He also said British.

Re:Turing?... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433986)

For some reason I find your post jocular. Good show, old chap.

Re:Turing?... (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433908)

You'd think that on Slashdot of all places, they wouldn't bother saying "Nobel Prize of computing" in the article title, but would just say "...wins Turing Award."

If readers don't know who Turing was, they can Google it and learn something in the process.

Re:Turing?... (1)

sessamoid (165542) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434254)

You'd think that on Slashdot of all places, they wouldn't bother saying "Nobel Prize of computing" in the article title, but would just say "...wins Turing Award."

If readers don't know who Turing was, they can Google it and learn something in the process.

That was my feeling, too. When I read the headline, my first thought was, "Slashdot is one of the few big websites where this really didn't need to be explained." Do soccer fan websites trumpet how Germany just won the "Super Bowl of soccer"?

Re:Turing?... (1)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434342)

The 'Super Bowl' of soccer? Since when can Germany compete in the US 'Major League Soccer' tournament?

(end troll :)

Re:Turing?... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#35439492)

I thought it was the World(tm) Series of soccer?

Re:Turing?... (2)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35435738)

Yes, well I haven't been this excited since King's Speech won the 'Turing Award' of Movies!

Re:Turing?... (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35436292)

The reason they did that is that ACM's own press releases refer to the Turing Award in that way.

Re:Turing?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35441170)

Better that he did not 'Oscar award in Computing' . Also there has been any references or comments on "Noble committee awarding Obama for ..."

Re:Turing?... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35441320)

You'd think that on Slashdot of all places, they wouldn't bother saying "Nobel Prize of computing" in the article title, but would just say "...wins Turing Award."

If readers don't know who Turing was, they can Google it and learn something in the process.

If any slashdot reader doesn't know who Turing was, they should consider why they bother coming here.

Re:Turing?... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35438868)

They must have misspelled Touring Award. The Nobel prize is just a non-car analogy.

Summary (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433510)

I think this is one of the best article summaries I've read on SlashDot in a while. It's actually informative, doesn't assume too much, and is not a complete troll. There is also a complete lack of advertising.

Re:Summary (4, Funny)

bmuon (1814306) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433590)

Yeah, it just happened to be the first paragraph of the article. So... Best written article?

Re:Summary (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434744)

I thought it was really obnoxious to have the headline refer to it as the "Nobel Prize" instead of by its real name.

Re:Summary (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35436872)

I don't mean to pick on you, but I'm not surprised that a reader of "SlashDot" enjoyed the summary that felt the need to explain who Alan Turing is.

And yeah, "Turing Award" would've been a hell of a lot more informative than "Nobel Prize of Computing", whatever the hell that is.

A poor choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433520)

Bah! That field is a complete waste of time.

Artificial Intelligence will never be a match for Genuine Stupidity.

Re:A poor choice (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35436544)

So, what you seem to be saying is that as if we let our Artificially Intelligent overlords read the ACs in /., they'll give up and turn themselves off?

Well, at least that eliminates the Skynet/Matrix dystopias. *phew*!

Not "Nobel Prize" (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433522)

Unless you want to suggest the Turing Award is as biased and corrupt as the Nobel Prize awards, you shouldn't conflate the two.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433550)

Oh calm down. To the layman the terms are of equal weight.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433594)

Uh... no? To the layman, 'Nobel Prize' means something. 'Turing' means precisely dick.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434026)

Surely they must recognise the name from Turing Car racing? It's almost as well known as Fermelab 1.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434568)

Mod parent funny.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35436016)

No, mod grandparent informative

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (1)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 3 years ago | (#35436850)

Slashod: news for laymen. Stuff that meh.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (3, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433552)

No, it is not a "Nobel Prize" but as even the wiki article [wikipedia.org] on it says:

The Turing Award is recognized as the "highest distinction in Computer science"[2] and "Nobel Prize of computing".[3]

Now that citation 3 is to an article on ACM.org that also says:

Widely known as the 'Nobel Prize' of computing, the Turing Award recognizes individuals for contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the computing field.

So basically no one is conflating anything because it is widely known by that moniker.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (2)

greeneggs2000 (739337) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433766)

It really is *not* widely known as the Nobel prize of computing. The Wikipedia citation is to an ACM press release---and ACM is the organization that gives out the award! In general, the Turing award has had a very poor history of recipients. It is better than the Nobel peace prize but worse than the economics prize (and therefore far worse than physics, etc.).

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433898)

The point was that this wasn't just something made up by the summary writer or the article writer. It's a moniker that the ACM itself has used for the prize.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433692)

The Nobels in the sciences (as opposed to Econ/Lit/Peace) tend to not be corrupt.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35433830)

Oh yeah? Then why haven't I gotten one yet? I mean, besides from the fact of having done nothing particularly interesting in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, or Medicine... But other than that, I totally deserve one - and I haven't got mine yet. So, yeah... ABSOLUTELY CORRUPT!

And, for those of you who actually think I'm serious... WOOOOOSH!

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434222)

Oh yeah? Then why haven't I gotten one yet? I mean, besides from the fact of having done nothing particularly interesting in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, or Medicine... But other than that, I totally deserve one - and I haven't got mine yet. So, yeah... ABSOLUTELY CORRUPT!

And, for those of you who actually think I'm serious... WOOOOOSH!

I think you are serious and I think you "so" deserve the Nobel Prize! AND I think you tell the truth and you were not awarded the Nobel Prize, yet. => The Nobel Prize process must be absolutely corrupt.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434636)

Yeah. I understand that. But they have the same burden: they are associated with the bias and corruption because they share the same brand name with the biased prizes.

Also, some winners of the prizes are using their status to promote government power over people. Government power over people always leads to corruption.

It's too bad. It would be nice if we had people to genuinely honor and admire without having to worry about regretting it later.

Econ is corrupt? (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35442090)

I can name several econ nobel laureates who, in my not overly well-informed opinion, have made a genuine net positive contribution to the world.

Every heard of game theory and Nash equilibria? That'd be John Forbes Nash. How about Vickrey auctions---they might add a little more honesty to the world, and help people allocate goods more efficiently. How about Kenneth Arrow, proving that social decision making processing will always have flaws (so we can stop looking for the perfect ones and start discussing trade-offs)? Or how about Daniel Kahnemann, for reminding economists the danger of their foolish assumptions about human rationality? ;-)

But of course, I'm eager to learn so if econ is corrupt please enlighten me as to how.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433716)

The Peace Prize is the biased one, and it's given by a completely separate committee from the real Nobels.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (1)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35435898)

Yes, Obama's peace prize, given to him only months after he was elected, was essentially because he was in a position to do the 'right thing' whatever that might be. It is politically motivated and has little to do with real accomplishments. The prize in economics is also somewhat of a joke. It is given based on influence rather than true accomplishment, since accomplishments in economics are difficult to judge and very political. I personally don't believe the prizes are awarded politically, since past recipients include ultra right-wingers F. Hayek and M. Friedman, as well as left-winger Paul Krugman.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35441416)

The Peace Prize is the biased one, and it's given by a completely separate committee from the real Nobels.

When people say "biased" they generally mean "in favour of something that I disagree with". So, yes, if you're a war-mongering sabre-rattling proto-fascist imperialist, you probably do find the Nobel Peace Prize committee biased.

Re:Not "Nobel Prize" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35436294)

Someone needs to put this 'nobel is corrupt' meme to rest. Declaring corruption merely based on your disagreement with their choices is pretty similar to vi/emacs, AGW/climate-change, evolution/ID, olympic standards, and the Westminster Dog club's awards. Put up or hush, pup.

babys/LSI/W+dog/SDF; intentions not censorable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433524)

butt if it makes you feel better/anything, that's good? "we're not leavin' 'till it's even", the bips chortle convincingly.

we do have our intentions; too complicated?

1. DEWEAPONIZATION (not a real word, but they like it) almost nothing else good happens until some progress here.

2. ALL BABYS CREATED/TO BE TREATED, EQUALLY. (a rough interpretation (probably cost us. seems like a no-brainer but they expressed that we fail on that one too(:)->) 'we do not need any 300$ 'strollers', or even to ride in your smelly cars/planes etc..., until such time as ALL of the creators' innocents have at least food, shelter, & some loving folks nearby.' again, this is a deal breaker, so pay attention, that's cheap enough, & could lead to our survival?

3. THOU SHALT NOT VACCINATE IRRESPONSIBLY. this appears to be a stop-gap intention.

the genuine feelings expressed included; in addition to the lack of acknowledgment of the advances/evolution of our tiny bodies/dna (including consciousness & intellect), almost nobody knows anymore what's in those things (vaccines) (or they'd tell us), & there's rumor much of it is less than good (possibly fatal) for ANY of us. if it were good for us we'd be gravitating towards it, instead of it being shoved in our little veins, wrecking them, & adversely affecting our improving immune systems/dna/development? at rite-aid, they give the mommies 100$ if they let them stick their babys with whoknowswhat? i can see why they're (the little ones) extremely suspicious? they're also asking that absolutely nobody be allowed to insert those corepirate nazi 'identity' 'chips' in their tiny frames. they know who they, and we, are, much better than we ever will? many, oddly? have fading inclinations to want to be reporters of nefarious life threatening processes, ie. 'conspiracies', as they sincerely believe that's 'stuff that REALLY matters', but they KNOW that things are going to be out in the open soon, so they intend to put their ever increasing consciousness, intellect, acute/astute senses & information gathering abilities, to the care & feeding of their fellow humans. no secrets to cover up with that goal.

4. AN END TO MANUFACTURED 'WEATHER'.

sortie like a no-(aerosol tankers)-fly zone being imposed over the whole planet. the thinking is, the planet will continue to repair itself, even if we stop pretending that it's ok/nothing's happening. after the weather manipulation is stopped (& it will be) it could get extremely warm/cold/blustery some days. many of us will be moving inland..., but we'll (most of us anyway) be ok, so long as we keep our heads up. conversely, the manufactured 'weather' puts us in a state of 'theater' that allows US to think that we needn't modify our megaslothian heritage of excessiveness/disregard for ourselves, others, what's left of our environment etc...? all research indicates that spraying chemicals in the sky is 100% detrimental to our/planet's well being (or they'd talk to US about it?). as for weather 'extremes', we certainly appear to be in a bleeding rash of same, as well as all that bogus seismic activity, which throws our advanced tiny baby magnets & chromosomes into crisis/escape mode, so that's working? we're a group whose senses are more available to us (like monkeys?) partly because we're not yet totally distracted by the foibles of man'kind'. the other 'part' is truly amazing. we saw nuclear war being touted on PBS as an environmental repair tool (?depopulation? (makes the babys' 'accountants' see dark red:-(-? yikes. so what gives?

thanks for your patience & understanding while we learn to express our intentions. everybody has some. let us know. come to some of our million baby play-dates. no big hurry? catch your breath. we'll wait a bit more. thanks.

do the math. check out YOUR dna/intentional healing potential. thanks again.

Re:babys/LSI/W+dog/SDF; intentions not censorable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433620)

It's such a shame there's not a "-1 What the FUCK was all that?" moderation.

Re:babys/LSI/W+dog/SDF; intentions not censorable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433776)

actually some solid concepts here.

Re:babys/LSI/W+dog/SDF; intentions not censorable (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35441522)

actually some solid concepts here.

You're not supposed to reply to your own posts.

In other news... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433532)

..Obama wins the 'Turing Award' of Peace.

Re:In other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433866)

Well, not yet...we're still waiting for his Busy Beaver machine to halt.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35439146)

..Obama wins the 'Turing Award' of Peace.

You misspelled Darwin.

"and to the broader theory of computer science" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35433672)

Why didn't I come up with this?
I could have been somebody.

Q: why don't the smelly babys get their own blog? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434010)

Q: why don't the smelly babys get their own blog?

so they would stop interfering with 'stuff that matters' here on /., & rob could stop blocking those 3 broadband lines?

A. now there's some industrious thinking along the lines of what we were hoping for from this crowd of way savvy non-mutants. much better than the earlier response of vandalism(s), & ongoing censorship/deletion, like the corepirate nazi mutants do IT? details to follow. we know we'll have to put the site up 'bunker' style, based on our experiences to date. thanks. mynuts won; doesn't quite fit the motif

Terrible Article Title (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434018)

There is nothing having to do with the Nobel Prize whatsoever. The little quotes don't make it forgivable.

This is purely a trick to get more eyes on the story, and is quite despicable.

Turing had the award named after him for his achievements and success. In that respect, calling it a 'Nobel Prize' of computing is rather insulting. Anyone who would normally be interested by this award knows who Turing is, and probably (rightfully so) has more respect for that award than the Nobel Prize.

It should say that the Nobel Prize is an award like the Turing award, in non-computational areas of science.

turing award test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35434138)

This article was actually written by a machine powered by Valiant's ideas, thus making it simultaneously a turing test troll and an advertisement.

Is Slashdot going soft? (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35434160)

Leslie Valiant Wins 'Nobel Prize' of Computing ...
"ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery today named Leslie G. Valiant of Harvard University the winner of the 2010 ACM A.M. Turing Award...

Yes, Virginia, in the mainstream press we may have to explain to ordinary people that the Turing award is the computer science equivalent of a Nobel prize, the same way that we have to explain that the Fields Medal is the analogue for the field of mathematics. But this is Slashdot, and I expect my nerds and my geeks to Know This Stuff.

(and before you youngsters complain that you're young and still learning, pipe down. You all know how to look it up on Wikipedia in about 5 seconds)

Heck, they might as well change the tag line of the website to "Slashdot: News for Technically-adept persons. Articles of interest to their quaint population."

Rob Malda's own characterization of his education (1)

gumpish (682245) | more than 3 years ago | (#35439626)

Yeah, who needs that boring theory crap anyway? (sarcasm)

Didn't slashdot used to be for tech folks or am I confusing it with some other site?

It should have gone to Watson (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35436096)

The Turing Prize should have gone to Watson, as it (he?) passed the Turing test, or at least won Jeopardy.

Re:It should have gone to Watson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35437040)

Watson won Jeopardy in 2011. Valiant won the 2010 award.

Re:It should have gone to Watson (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35441558)

The Turing Prize should have gone to Watson, as it (he?) passed the Turing test, or at least won Jeopardy.

since when does a computer being able to answer factual questions quickly count as being the equivalent of a human being having a conversation?

Re:It should have gone to Watson (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35448724)

I couldn't tell the difference between Watson and my uncle having a cold, whose conversations btw tend to be restricted to snappy answers from the sofa watching Jeopardy. The similarity is good enough for me. :)

You know what would be nice (1)

JumpDrive (1437895) | more than 3 years ago | (#35439426)

If they would only give the award once to someone who just documented how programs work. They should have an award for that.

PAC Learning (1)

notandor (807997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35450522)

Almost all comments here on /. are about nobel prices or about the summary but not about Valians research in CS. What gives?! On the other hand, this is /. after all, silly me ...

To contribute something to the topic: So he invented PAC learning, I took a Machine Learning course a while back, we studied this concept in Tom Mitchell's "Machine Learning" book, but quite honestly, I cannot remember this that well.

Does anybody know some good online resources (class slides etc.) about PAC learning? I mean there are plenty of examples for this online, but if somebody also took a ML course or knows some course slides that are of great quality (or can write some lines with explanations), I would really appreciate this.

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