Michael Jordan, a leading UC Berkeley researcher in the fields of computer science and statistics, is the 2015 recipient of the David E. Rumelhart Prize, a prestigious honor reserved for those who have made fundamental contributions to the theoretical foundations of human cognition.
The prize, which comes with a $100,000 award, was announced Friday, July 25, at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society in Quebec City, Canada. As the 2015 Rumelhart Prize recipient, Jordan will deliver a major address at the society’s meeting next year in Pasadena, Calif.
“Jordan’s seminal contributions to computational models of human learning are nothing short of profound,” said Matthew Crocker, professor of psycholinguistics at Saarland University in Germany and head of the Prize Selection Committee. “His work has fundamentally shaped our understanding in so many domains of cognitive inquiry, and will do so for decades to come.”
Jordan is the Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Statistics. His research bridges the computational, mathematical and biological sciences.
Jordan is known for his theoretical and experimental work in the field of human motor learning, and for his development of a wide range of new models and methods in the field of statistical machine learning. His research interests also address problems in distributed computing systems, natural language processing, signal processing and statistical genetics.
Jordan earned his master’s degree in mathematics from Arizona State University and his Ph.D. in cognitive science from UC San Diego. While he was at UC San Diego, he studied under the prize’s namesake, Rumelhart, a mathematical psychologist and pioneer in the field of cognitive neuroscience.
“Michael Jordan was one of the first people to recognize the deep connection between statistics and learning,” said Tom Griffiths, associate professor of psychology and director of the Computational Cognitive Science Lab and the Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences at UC Berkeley. “He has used that connection to develop some of the most influential methods in machine learning research and the foundations of probabilistic models of human cognition.”
In 2010, Jordan was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the National Academy of Engineering. The following year, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Jordan is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The Rumelhart Prize, established in 2001, is sponsored by the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation. Glushko is an adjunct professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, and Samuelson is a professor with joint appointments at UC Berkeley’s School of Law and the School of Information.