Computer Science Professor Wins Prestigious AI Award �

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Computer Science Professor Wins Prestigious AI Award

Associate Professor of Computer Science Tuomas Sandholm received the 2003 "Computers and Thought Award," given every two years by the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) to an outstanding young scientist working in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The award is considered to be the premier prize for AI researchers under the age of 35.

IJCAI recognized Sandholm "for his contributions to computational economics and the theory and practice of negotiation and coalition formation among computationally bounded agents."

Sandholm works at the convergence of AI, computer science, economics and operations research, focusing on constructing electronic marketplaces that are efficient in terms of economic results and computational processes. He develops systems that lead to economically desirable outcomes on a global scale, despite the fact that the participating agents—humans or software—act in their own self-interest. While this has also been a key goal in game theory, Sandholm's work goes beyond traditional game theory by taking into account the real-world constraints of limited computing power and communication bandwidth, as well as the desire to preserve privacy.

"Tuomas has developed computer systems and concepts for doing multi-dimensional auctions, which play off different aspects of a product in more creative ways," said James H. Morris, dean of the School of Computer Science (SCS). "This award recognizes that his work meets high standards in an important line of research that the experts believe will be increasingly important to the field of AI."

Sandholm directs the Agent-Mediated Electronic Marketplaces Laboratory in the Computer Science Department. He is also founder, chairman of the board and chief technology officer of CombineNet, Inc., an optimization software company focusing on procurement issues for major companies.

"Sandholm has conducted an intensive research program in electronic markets and multi-agent systems, and has also done work in other areas of autonomous agents," said the award citation. "The breadth and depth of his contributions over a relatively short period of time are impressive."

He received the Computers and Thought award at the IJCAI 2003 conference in August and delivered a plenary lecture on "Making Markets and Democracy Work: A Story of Incentives and Computing."

Sandholm is the second Carnegie Mellon faculty member to receive IJCAI's Computers and Thought Award. Computer Science Professor Tom Mitchell received it in 1983 for his work in machine learning.

Faculty members Scott Fahlman, Reid Simmons, Manuela Veloso and Pradeep Khosla joined Sandholm at the IJCAI as they were named American Association of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) fellows. The fellows program honors AAAI members who have made significant, sustained contributions to the field of artificial intelligence and are recognized as having unusual distinction in the profession. Takeo Kanade, the Robotics Institute's U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor, gave the conference's keynote address, "Computer Vision: AI or Non-AI Problem."


Anne Watzman

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