Cynthia Rudin Wins the $1 Million Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity

Cynthia Rudin,  professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, was won the $1 million Squirrel AI Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. Founded in 1979, AAAI serves as the prominent international scientific society serving AI researchers, practitioners, and educators. Dr. Rudin is the second recipient of the new annual award, funded by the online education company Squirrel AI to recognize achievements in artificial intelligence.

Professor Rudin was honored for “pioneering scientific work in the area of interpretable and transparent AI systems in real-world deployments, the advocacy for these features in highly sensitive areas such as social justice and medical diagnosis, and serving as a role model for researchers and practitioners.”

Yolanda Gil, past president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, said that “Professor Rudin’s work highlights the importance of transparency for AI systems in high-risk domains. Her courage in tackling controversial issues calls out the importance of research to address critical challenges in responsible and ethical use of AI.”

Dr. Rudin earned undergraduate degrees in mathematical physics and music theory from the University at Buffalo of the State University of New York System before completing her Ph.D. in applied and computational mathematics at Princeton University. She then worked as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at New York University, and as an associate research scientist at Columbia University. She was an associate professor of statistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining Duke’s faculty in 2017.

A video of Dr. Rudin discussing her work can be viewed below.

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