The Cognitive Science Society awarded the 2010 Rumelhart Prize to Professor Judea Pearl of the University of California at Los Angeles, for his research in artificial intelligence and systems that demonstrate plausible reasoning from uncertain evidence. The professor was awarded at the 35th Annual Event of the Cognitive Science Society.
Dr. Pearl’s work involves graphical models, and aims to analyze causality and the movement of beliefs. Graphical models form the cornerstone of a new branch of cognitive science that studies probabilistic relationships. These models have already been successfully used in several fields such as epidemiology, statistics, psychology and machine learning, and have brought about a transformation in them. A member of the Rumelhart Prize committee, William Bechtel said that the committee unanimously considered Dr. Pearl’s work influential as his research offers a very important hypothesis about the behavior of the human mind and aids the revitalization of causality research.
Contrary to popular belief that it is not possible to infer causation from correlation, Dr. Pearl's research demonstrates that logical estimation of causal relations from correlations is possible when several interrelated variables are available and assumptions related to the operations of causal processes are minimal. Dr Pearl considers that constructing a causality theory is vital for understanding cognition in human beings as it is the foundation for action. Dr Pearl disclosed that the source of inspiration for his works includes cognitive science and the research papers of David Rumelhart published during the 1970s. Dr Pearl has received assistance towards the application of his research from the statistical, robotics and epidemiology fraternities.