Montana State University

Ten pioneers in technology, biodiversity to receive Stibitz, Wilson awards Oct. 1

September 23, 2014 -- MSU News Service

Pioneers in the field of artificial intelligence, a prolific author of children’s books about science and nature and the scientist who led an expedition that discovered life in Antarctica are among 10 individuals who will be honored Oct. 1 in Bozeman for their pioneering work in computers, communications or biodiversity.

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Pioneers in the field of artificial intelligence, a prolific author of children’s books about science and nature and the scientist who led an expedition that discovered life in Antarctica are among 10 individuals who will be honored Oct. 1 in Bozeman for their pioneering work in computers, communications or biodiversity.

The George R. Stibitz Computer and Communications Award will go to Eric Horvitz, distinguished scientist and managing director at Microsoft Research Laboratory; Douglas Hofstadter, founder of the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition; Hans Moravec, former research professor in the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University; Edward Feigenbaum, professor emeritus of computer science at Stanford University; David Andes, founder of the U.S. Navy’s Artificial Neural Networks Program at the Naval Weapons Center; and Cynthia Breazeal, associate professor of media arts and sciences in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

The Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award will go to Rebecca Costa, author, public speaker and talk show host; acclaimed author Dorothy Hinshaw Patent; Cathy Whitlock, Montana State University professor and MSU director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems; and John Priscu, MSU professor and renowned polar biologist. 

Both awards were established by George Keremedjiev, founder and director of the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman and a 2009 recipient of an honorary doctorate at MSU. Keremedjiev presented the first Stibitz awards in 1997. Prominent biologist E.O. Wilson – who received a Stibitz award in 2006 for pioneering the Electronic Encyclopedia of Life – presented the first Wilson award in 2009.  Wilson is expected to return to Bozeman to present the Wilson awards this year.

The recipients of this year’s awards will receive their awards at a private dinner, but following the dinner, the awardees will be part of a public forum where artificial intelligence and the future of humanity and biodiversity will be discussed. The forum is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the Strand Union Building ballrooms on the MSU campus.

Earlier in the day, the awardees will meet with MSU faculty and students in various MSU departments that are pertinent to their specialties. 

More information about this year’s awardees follows:

Horvitz is distinguished scientist and managing director at Microsoft Research Laboratory. He played a significant role in establishing the credibility of artificial intelligence with other areas of computer science and computer engineering, and his research helped establish the link between artificial intelligence and decision science. Horvitz speaks about artificial intelligence around the world, including on NPR and the Charlie Rose show, and his research has been featured in the New York Times, among other publications. 

Hofstadter is Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Comparative Literature at Indiana University, where he directs the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition. He is perhaps best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, ” which examines the surprising points of contact between the music of Bach, the artwork of Escher, and the mathematics of Gödel. The book also won a National Book Award.

Moravec is an adjunct faculty member at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University who is known for his work on robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as his writings on the impact of technology. Moravec is also the co-founder and chief scientist of the robotics company Seegrid Corporation.  

Feigenbaum is a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence and is often known as "the father of expert systems." He founded the Knowledge Systems Laboratory at Stanford University and served as chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force from 1994-1997. He is currently a professor emeritus of computer science at Stanford and speaks and writes extensively on artificial intelligence topics. 

Andes founded the United States Navy's Artificial Neural Networks Program at the Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, Calif. He also served as a research fellow there, where he developed a two-dimensional image processor for missile-seeking applications. 

Breazeal directs the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab's Personal Robots group. As a doctoral student and postdoctoral fellow at MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab, Breazeal also developed Kismet, an anthropomorphic robotic head that has been widely featured in international media. She continues to develop anthropomorphic robots as part of her ongoing work of building artificial systems that learn from and interact with people in an intelligent, life-like and sociable manner. Nexi, a mobile, dexterous social robot developed by Breazeal's research group, was named one of the 50 Best Innovations of 2008 by TIME magazine.

Costa is an author and public speaker who offers a genetic explanation for current events, emerging trends and individual behavior. She traces everything from terrorism, debt, epidemic obesity and upheaval in the Middle East to evolutionary imperatives. She is the author of “The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse” and hosts a weekly radio program, “The Costa Report,” which is nationally syndicated. She is the former CEO of a large marketing firm, where her clients included Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, Oracle Corporation, Seibel Systems, 3M, Amdahl and General Electric Corporation.

Hinshaw Patent is an acclaimed author of more than 130 children’s books about science and nature, with those books published by more than a dozen publishers. Topics range from tropical butterflies to deserts to elephants to nutrition and what is in the food humans consume. She also writes about cooking, nature, writing and travel. Hinshaw Patent has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a master’s degree and doctorate in zoology.

Whitlock is the MSU director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and a professor of Earth sciences at MSU.  She is nationally and internationally recognized for her scholarly contributions and leadership activities in the field of past climatic and environmental change. Whitlock is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a leading scientific organization that advances science around the world and across all disciplines. Her current research sites extend from Yellowstone and the western U.S. to New Zealand, Tasmania and Patagonia. 

Priscu is a professor of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at MSU and an internationally renowned polar biologist. He is the chief scientist of the U.S. project called WISSARD, or the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling project, which culminated in a massive U.S. expedition to one of Earth’s final frontiers in 2013. The expedition showed that there is life and an active ecosystem one-half mile below the surface of the West Antarctic Ice sheet, specifically in a lake that hasn’t seen sunlight or felt wind for millions of years. The research led to a breakthrough paper in the journal Nature, proving that Antarctica is not a dead continent.

 

Contact: George Keremedjiev, director, American Computer and Robotics Museum, director@compustory.com