Yann LeCun, a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has been named the recipient of the IEEE Neural Networks Pioneer Award, which is given by the Computational Intelligence Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
The award, which recognizes contributions to the field at least 15-year prior to the award, will be given to LeCun during the institute’s 2014 World Congress on Computational Intelligence in Beijing in July.
LeCun is a pioneer in the field of machine learning, artificial neural networks, and pattern recognition. In the 1980s, LeCun proposed one of the early versions of the back-propagation algorithm, the most popular method for training artificial neural networks. In the late 1980s and early 1990s at AT&T Bell Laboratories, he developed the convolutional network model--a pattern- recognition model whose architecture mimics, in part, the visual cortex of animals and humans. AT&T eventually deployed a check-reading system--based on this breakthrough--that by the late 1990s was reading about 20 percent of all the checks written in the U.S.
LeCun is one of the leading scientists behind the recent surge of interest in “deep learning”-- the latest development in artificial intelligence in which researchers aim to emulate humans' auditory and visual systems. Deep learning methods, particularly convolutional networks, are used for a wide variety of applications--including speech and image recognition--by companies such as Google, NEC, Microsoft, IBM, and Baidu.
While at AT&T, LeCun made a series of breakthroughs in the area of machine learning, VLSI design, and image processing, including the co-creation of the DjVu system, a technology and computer file format designed to distribute scanned documents over the Internet.
LeCun's recent research projects include the application of deep learning methods to visual scene understanding, visual navigation for autonomous ground robot, driverless cars, and small flying robots, speech recognition, and applications in biology and medicine.
Earlier this year, LeCun became the founding director of NYU’s Center for Data Science, a research and education institution focused on the automatic extraction of the knowledge from data, and on the application of massive data analysis to science, medicine, business, and government.