In 2004, Geoffrey Hinton doubled down on his pursuit of a technological idea called a neural network.
It was a way for machines to see the world around them, recognize sounds and even understand natural language. But scientists had spent more than 50 years working on the concept of neural networks, and machines couldn’t really do any of that.
Backed by the Canadian government, Dr. Hinton, a computer science professor at the University of Toronto, organized a new research community with several academics who also tackled the concept. They included Yann LeCun, a professor at New York University, and Yoshua Bengio at the University of Montreal.
On Wednesday, the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest society of computing professionals, announced that Drs. Hinton, LeCun and Bengio had won this year’s Turing Award for their work on neural networks. The Turing Award, which was introduced in 1966, is often called the Nobel Prize of computing, and it includes a $1 million prize, which the three scientists will share.