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Leslie Valiant Wins 'Nobel Prize' of Computing 61

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the fast-track-to-sex-and-money dept.
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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Leslie Valiant Wins 'Nobel Prize' of Computing

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  • Turing?... (Score:4, Funny)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:54PM (#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?... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrEricSir (398214) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:30PM (#35433908) Homepage

      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.

      • by sessamoid (165542)

        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"?

      • by jkauzlar (596349)
        Yes, well I haven't been this excited since King's Speech won the 'Turing Award' of Movies!
      • by Desler (1608317)

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

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        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.

  • Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @02:59PM (#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 (Score:4, Funny)

      by bmuon (1814306) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:07PM (#35433590)

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

    • by Bogtha (906264)
      I thought it was really obnoxious to have the headline refer to it as the "Nobel Prize" instead of by its real name.
    • by glwtta (532858)
      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.
  • Not "Nobel Prize" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:00PM (#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.

    • Oh calm down. To the layman the terms are of equal weight.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Desler (1608317)

      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.

      • 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.).

        • by Desler (1608317)

          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.

    • by sconeu (64226)

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

      • 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!

      • by Kohath (38547)

        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.

      • 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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @03:01PM (#35433532)

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

  • 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

  • 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 ch

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

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      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?

      • by G3ckoG33k (647276)

        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. :)

  • Here's the link to the citation describing Les Valiant's work: http://www.acm.org/news/featured/turing-award-2010 [acm.org]
  • If they would only give the award once to someone who just documented how programs work. They should have an award for that.
  • 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 a

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