Yann LeCun

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Yann LeCun is a French computer scientist who works primarily in the machine learning, computer vision, mobile robotics and computer neuroscience fields. He is a Silver Professor at the Mathematical Sciences Courant Institute, New York University, Vice President, Chief AI Scientist, Facebook. He is well known for working on the recognition of optical character and computer vision through convolutionary neural networks and is the founder of convolutionary networks. He is also one of the main developers of DjVu compression technology. With Léon Bottou he co-developed the Lush programming language.

He is co-winner of the ACM A.M. Turing Award 2018 for his deep education work.

Yann LeCun was born in 1960 in the Paris suburbs of Soisy-sous-Montmorency. He graduated with a Diplôme d’Ingénieur from the ESIEE Paris in 1983 and a PhD in computer science from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in 1987 during which he proposed an early form of the back-propagation learning algoritude for neural networks.

In 1988, Lawrence D. Jackel joined the Adaptive Systems Research Department at AI&T Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, New Jersey, USA, where he developed several new methods of machine learning like the bio-inspired picture recognition model called Convolutional Neural Networks, the methods of “optimal brain damage” and m Graph Transformer Networks. The system of bank check recognition that NCR and other companies were used to help with was more than 10% of the checking in the USA in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. In 1996, he joined AT&T Labs-Research as Head of the Department for Image Processing Research, part of the Lawrence Rabiner Speech and Image Processing Research Laboratory. Léon Bottou and Vladimir Vapnik are his collaborators at AT&T.

He joined New York University in 2003 after having worked as a fellow of the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, NJ, where he is Silver Professor of Computer Science of Neural Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Science and the Center for Near-Knowledge. He is also a professor at the Engineering School of Tandon. At NYU, he primarily worked on energy-based models in supervised and unchecked education, computer vision feature learning and mobile robotics.In 2012, he was appointed as the founding director of the NYU Center for Data Science. LeCun became the first Facebook AI Research Director in New York City on December 9, 2013, and retired from the NYU-CDS Directorship in early 2014.

In 2013, he and Yoshua Bengio co-founded the International Learning Conference that adopted an Open Review process that he previously recommended on his website. He was chairman and organizer of the “Learning Workshop,” organized each year in Snowbird, Utah, from 1986 to 2012. He is a member of the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics’ Science Advisory Board at UCLA. He is Co-Director, CIFAR’s Research Program for Learning in Machinery and Brain. In 2016, he was the visiting IT professor in the “Chaire Annuelle Informatique et Sciences Numériques” at the Collège de France in Paris. His “inaugural lesson” was an important event in the intellectual life of Paris in 2016.

LeCun is a member of the National Academy of Engineering of the United States, the recipient of the 2014 Pioneer Award for IEEE Neural Network and the 2015 PAMI Distinguished Researcher Award. In 2017, LeCun rejected an invitation to lecture at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University for his belief that he was a terrorist in that country because of his atheism.

He received the Harold Pender Award from the University of Pennsylvania in September 2018. He was awarded the doctorate Honoris Causa from EPFL in October 2018.

LeCun won the Turing award in March 2019, sharing it with Yoshua Bengio and Geoffrey Hinton.

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