Judea Pearl at NIPS 2013
|Alma mater||Technion – Israel Institute of Technology|
New Jersey Institute of Technology
New York University Tandon School of Engineering
|Known for||Artificial Intelligence|
|Children||Daniel, Tamara, Michelle|
|Awards||IJCAI Award for Research Excellence(1999)|
Turing Award (2011)
Rumelhart Prize (2011)
Harvey Prize (2011)
|Fields||Computer science, statistics|
|Thesis||Vortex Theory of Superconductive Memories (1965)|
|Doctoral advisor||L. Strauss|
Judea Pearl (born September 4, 1936) is an Israeli-American computer scientist and philosopher, best known for championing the probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence and the development of Bayesian networks (see the article on belief propagation). He is also credited for developing a theory of causal and counterfactual inference based on structural models (see article on causality). In 2011, the Association for Computing Machinery awarded Pearl with the Turing Award, the highest distinction in computer science, "for fundamental contributions to artificial intelligence through the development of a calculus for probabilistic and causal reasoning".
Judea Pearl is the father of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan connected with Al-Qaeda and the International Islamic Front in 2002 for his American and Jewish heritage.
Judea Pearl was born in Tel Aviv, British Mandate for Palestine, in 1936 to Polish Jewish immigrant parents. He is a descendant of Menachem Mendel of Kotzk on his mother's side. After serving in the Israel Defense Forces and joining a kibbutz, Pearl decided to study engineering in 1956. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Technion 1960. That same year, he emigrated to the United States and pursued graduate studies. He received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Newark College of Engineering (now the New Jersey Institute of Technology) in 1961, and went on to receive an M.S. in Physics from Rutgers University and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now the New York University Tandon School of Engineering) in 1965. He worked at RCA Research Laboratories on superconductive parametric amplifiers and storage devices and at Electronic Memories, Inc., on advanced memory systems. When semiconductors "wiped out" Pearl's work, as he later expressed it, he joined UCLA's School of Engineering in 1970 and started work on probabilistic artificial intelligence. He is one of the founding editors of the Journal of Causal Inference.
Pearl is currently a professor of computer science and statistics and director of the Cognitive Systems Laboratory at UCLA. He and his wife, Ruth, had three children. In addition, as of 2011[update], he is a member of the International Advisory Board of NGO Monitor.
In 2002, his son, Daniel Pearl, a journalist working for the Wall Street Journal was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan, leading Judea and the other members of the family and friends to create the Daniel Pearl Foundation. On the seventh anniversary of Daniel's death, Judea wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal titled Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Evil: When will our luminaries stop making excuses for terror?.
Emeritus Chief Rabbi, The Right Honourable Lord Jonathan Sacks quoted Judea Pearl's beliefs in a lesson on Judaism. "I asked Judea Pearl, father of the murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, why he was working for reconciliation between Jews and Muslims, he replied with heartbreaking lucidity, "Hate killed my son. Therefore I am determined to fight hate."
On his religious views, Pearl states that he doesn't believe in God. He is very connected to Jewish traditions such as daily prayer, tefillin, and Kiddush on Friday night. In an interview with Heeb Magazine, he is "... trying to educate our children and live under God." He believes that Jews have always expected a return to Israel as expressed in songs, prayers and holidays.
Judea Pearl was one of the pioneers of Bayesian networks and the probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence, and one of the first to mathematize causal modeling in the empirical sciences. His work is also intended as a high-level cognitive model. He is interested in the philosophy of science, knowledge representation, nonstandard logics, and learning. Pearl is described as "one of the giants in the field of artificial intelligence" by UCLA computer science professor Richard Korf. His work on causality has "revolutionized the understanding of causality in statistics, psychology, medicine and the social sciences" according to the Association for Computing Machinery.
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery today named Judea Pearl of the University of California, Los Angeles the winner of the 2011 ACM A.M. Turing Award for innovations that enabled remarkable advances in the partnership between humans and machines that is the foundation of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
I asked Judea Pearl, father of the murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, why he was working for reconciliation between Jews and Muslims, he replied with heartbreaking lucidity, 'Hate killed my son. Therefore I am determined to fight hate.'"
I turned secular at the age of 11, by divine revelation. [Laughs.] I was standing on the roof of the house my father built, looking down on the street and suddenly it became very clear to me that there is no God.
I'm, of course, prisoner of my upbringing, which means my store of metaphors comes from the Bible and comes from history of the Jewish people. But I don't believe in God. Actually, I know there isn't [a] God.
Did you pray for Danny’s safe return? No, I don’t believe in a God [that] would listen to me. But I do pray every morning. I lay tefillin. I started a year ago. But aren’t you a secular Jew? I’ll give you the same answer I gave 10 Muslims who joined me for dinner one Friday night. I said, "Oh, it’s Friday night. I have to do Kiddush."
I see people getting together, Muslims and Jews, elevating above differences and recognizing that we’re all human beings trying to make sense of what’s going on, trying to educate our children and live under God.
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