Carnegie Mellon University
February 20, 2018

AI Pioneer Tuomas Sandholm Receives Angel Jordan Professorship

New chair honors late Carnegie Mellon provost, tech visionary

Byron Spice
  • School of Computer Science
  • 412-268-9068

Tuomas Sandholm, a computer scientist whose innovative algorithms have paired donors of life-saving kidneys with recipients and also defeated top professionals in a poker contest, will be the first recipient of Carnegie Mellon University's Angel Jordan Professorship in Computer Science.

Image of Tuomas Sandholm
Tuomas Sandholm

Sandholm, a professor in the Computer Science Department (CSD) and a leader of the CMU AI initiative to promote artificial intelligence research, is the founder and director of the Electronic Marketplaces Laboratory, founder of Optimized Markets Inc., and founder of Strategic Machine Inc.

"I love the approach to computer science taken by CMU: it's about finding deep new mathematical ideas and showing how they improve the human condition," said Andrew Moore, dean of the School of Computer Science (SCS). "Tuomas' amazing career has done exactly that, and has impacted medicine, transportation and manufacturing supply chains while doing so."

The newly endowed chair honors the late Angel Jordan, who played a pivotal role in establishing Carnegie Mellon as one of the leading computer science, engineering and robotics institutions in the world. As dean of engineering, Jordan worked with Raj Reddy of CSD and President Tom Murrin of Westinghouse Electric Corp. to form the pioneering Robotics Institute in 1979 and, as provost, championed the elevation of computer science from a department to the college level, creating SCS in 1989.

In 2001, Sandholm joined CMU, where he works at the convergence of AI, economics and operations research. His algorithms run the nationwide kidney exchange for the United Network for Organ Sharing, autonomously making the kidney exchange transplant plan for 69 percent of U.S. transplant centers each week. Through a prior startup he founded, he fielded 800 combinatorial electronic auctions for business sourcing, totaling $60 billion.

Sandholm developed the leading algorithms for strategic reasoning and created the first and only superhuman AI for no-limit poker, defeating four poker pros in a 20-day, 120,000-hand poker competition in January 2017. His latest startup, Strategic Machine, seeks to apply that technology and his related technologies to a broad range of challenges in business, finance, military, cybersecurity and medicine.

His startup Optimized Markets is bringing a new optimization-powered paradigm to advertising campaign sales and scheduling in television, internet display, streaming video and audio, mobile, game, radio and cross-media advertising.

His many honors include a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, inaugural Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Autonomous Agents Research Award, Sloan Fellowship, Edelman Laureateship, and the Computers and Thought Award. He is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich.

Sandholm will be honored at an upcoming ceremony.