Professor Daphne Koller at the University of Stanford has won the first-ever ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in Computing Sciences. The $150,000 prize was given to the 39-year-old for her work in approaching new solutions toward designing artificial intelligence in computers.
At her young age Koller, who was also named a MacArthur Fellow in 2004, has already worked in robotics and biology. Her groundbreaking work in the field of AI took an 18th century probability theorem and applied it toward modern day problems like the spread of cancer cells in the human body or why traffic jams occur the way that they do. Her research application was used by a team of medical scientists who were able to develop a new approach to understanding how breast tumors reach out and infiltrate bone.
“The world is noisy and messy,” Koller said recently to “The New York Times”. “You need to deal with the noise and uncertainty.”
“Professor Koller’s advances have been productive not only for computer science, but in a wide variety of applications that use computing to advance society in numerous ways,” said Stuart I. Feldman, the President of ACM when presenting Koller with her award. “Her research has been used as a framework to solve problems in such diverse fields as computational biology and epidemiology; language processing systems; robotics; and computer perception in understanding images. By using her models and algorithms to integrate small bits and pieces of data in systematic ways that produce stronger conclusions, her work offers a powerful way to think about the world. She is an ideal choice for the first recipient of this award, so generously donated by Infosys.”
Koller’s wide-reaching work may also be used to design tomorrow’s search engines that crawl the internet. By making smarter thinking software, online content could be sorted faster and with better search criteria.