Bernhard Schölkopf, director at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tübingen, Germany, is honored with the Körber Prize for European Science 2019. The Körber Foundation awards the prize to honor the computer scientist's contributions to machine learning, which today supplies one of the most important methods of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Körber Prize includes prize money of one million Euros.
Artificial Intelligence opens up new opportunities in ever more areas of day-to-day life: "AI is in play when a smartphone group stores photos according to faces and topics such as holidays," Schölkopf explains. "Or translates texts from one language into another." The Max Planck director contributed decisively to this success, for which this year the Körber Foundation is awarding him with the German research prize with the highest prize money.
Schölkopf's work has included a significant contribution to the development of support-vector machines and of a more general class of algorithms based on similar mathematical principles. These calculation specifications, which are called kernel methods, make it possible to classify objects. Even the first algorithms were able to recognize handwritten numbers almost as well as people, and better than any computing programs. In doing so, they use a mathematically transparent process. Schölkopf's work has made it possible to develop support-vector machines and kernel methods further for applications in many areas. Today, they are used while processing medical images, in the manufacture of semiconductors, and in search engines.
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