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Pioneer of machine learning celebrated

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14 December 2011

Professor Ming Li introducing keynote speaker, Grace Solomonoff, with photo of Ray Solomonoff in the background.
Professor Ming Li introducing keynote speaker, Grace Solomonoff, with photo of Ray Solomonoff in the background.

Reseachers from more than 15 countries recently gathered to celebrate the work of Ray Solomonoff (1926-2009), considered the founding father of the probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence (AI) and building intelligent computing systems that could learn and reason under uncertainty.

The conference, held at the University's Clayton campus, was officially opened by Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Research Training), Professor Max King.

Program chair of the Solomonoff 85th Memorial Conference, Associate Professor David Dowe, Clayton School of Information Technology, said Professor Solomonoff was a man well ahead of his time and the conference was an appropriate vehicle to honour him.

“Ray Solomonoff would have turned 85 this year and this multi-disciplinary conference was a great opportunity to celebrate his body of work, present research that builds on his work, and to celebrate Ray as a person,” Associate Professor Dowe said.

“Ray was a pioneer of machine learning, founder of algorithmic probability theory, father of the universal probability distribution and creator of the universal theory of statistical prediction.

"His pioneering work from the early 1960s influenced modern theories of measuring intelligence, and can be used for prediction in any discipline where there is data to be analysed.

“The conference was a perfect opportunity to hear from some of the leading researchers who have continued to explore the areas of algorithmic information theory, and AI based on machine learning, prediction and probability - including voice question to text answering conversion, philosophy, the technological singularity and other disciplines."

Keynote speakers included Professor Leonid Levin from Boston University US, Grace Solomonoff (Ray Solomonoff’s widow), and Professor Ming Li from the University of Waterloo Canada.

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