Geoffrey Hinton
(photo by Johnny Guatto)

Geoffrey Hinton recognized with Royal Medal

Artificial intelligence and deep-learning pioneer Geoffrey Hinton has been awarded the prestigious Royal Medal from the Royal Society, the U.K.’s national academy of sciences.

A University Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Arts & Science’s department of computer science, Hinton is chief scientific adviser at the Vector Institute, and a vice-president and engineering fellow at Google.

Royal Medals have been awarded annually since 1826 for advancements in the physical and biological sciences. A third medal, for applied sciences, has been awarded since 1965. Previous University of Toronto medal winners include Anthony Pawson and Nobel laureate John Polanyi.

According to the Royal Society, Hinton is being honoured for “pioneering work on algorithms that learn distributed representations in artificial neural networks and their application to speech and vision, leading to a transformation of the international information technology industry.”

In 1986, Hinton and his collaborators developed a breakthrough approach that would realize the promise of neural networks and form the current foundation of that technology. They built on that initial work with a number of critical developments that enhanced the potential of AI and helped usher in today’s revolution in deep learning with applications in speech and image recognition, self-driving vehicles, automated diagnosis of images and language, and more.

“It is a great honour to receive the Royal Medal — a medal previously awarded to intellectual giants like Darwin, Faraday, Boole and G.I. Taylor,” says Hinton. “But unlike them, my success was the result of recruiting and nurturing an extraordinarily talented set of graduate students and postdocs who were responsible for many of the breakthroughs in deep learning that revolutionized artificial intelligence over the last 15 years.”

Read the Faculty of Arts & Science story