Judea Pearl (photo: UCLA Engineering)

Judea Pearl has been awarded the 2018 Ulf Grenander Prize in Stochastic Theory and Modeling, for the invention of a model-based approach to probabilistic and causal reasoning, the discovery of innovative tools for inferring these models from observations, and the development of novel computational methods for the practical applications of these models. The 2018 prize was awarded in January during the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego.

Ulf Grenander (1923–2016), an IMS Fellow, sought to develop general tools for constructing realistic models of patterns in natural and man-made systems. He believed in the power of rigorous mathematics and abstraction for the analysis of complex models, statistical theory for efficient model inference, and the importance of computation for bridging theory and practice. Judea Pearl has relied on these very same principles, bringing to it an energy and creativity that is remarkably reminiscent of the scientific life of Ulf Grenander.

Judea is professor of computer science and statistics at UCLA, where he directs the Cognitive Systems Laboratory and conducts research in AI, human cognition, and philosophy of science. He has authored numerous scientific papers and three books. A recent book, Causal Inference in Statistics (2016, with M. Glymour and N. Jewell) introduces modern causal analysis to undergraduate statistics education. His forthcoming The Book of Why (2018, with Dana Mackenzie) explains for a general audience how cause and effect, the grand taboo in science, can be placed on a firm mathematical foundation.

Judea is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Cognitive Science Society, and a founding fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. He is a recipient of the Technion’s Harvey Prize (2011) and the ACM A.M. Turing Award (2012) for the development of calculus for probabilistic and causal reasoning.

Visit the American Mathematical Association to read more about Judea Pearl and the Ulf Grenander Prize: http://www.ams.org/news?news_id=3856