UCC professor receives top AI research award

18 Jan 2021

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The work of Prof Eugene Freuder has been recognised with the IJCAI Research Excellence Award.

Prof Eugene Freuder of University College Cork (UCC) has been recognised with one of the world’s premier awards in the field of AI.

Freuder, who is professor emeritus at the UCC School of Computer Science and Information Technology, has been granted the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) Research Excellence Award.

This award is given to a scientist who has carried out consistently high-quality research throughout their career, yielding several substantial results. Past recipients of the award include some big names in the area of AI research, such as John McCarthy, Allen Newell, Marvin Minsky, Herbert Simon and Barbara Grosz.

Freuder said he was honoured to receive the award, and pleased for himself and his research community.

Prof John O’Halloran, interim president of UCC, described Freuder as a “giant of artificial intelligence and computer science”. The university’s vice-president for research and innovation, Prof Anita Maguire, added that there is a “tremendous legacy” from Freuder’s work.

“In addition to leading excellent research within his own research team over the past two decades in Cork, Gene’s leadership, inspiration and international network has led to a thriving cluster of research teams in University College Cork focused on constraint programming and related areas which continue to push the boundaries in this field,” Maguire said.

Freuder was the founding director of the Cork Constraint Computation Centre, which transitioned into part of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics.

Prof Barry O’Sullivan, director of the Insight Centre at UCC and a long-time colleague of Freuder, said he had been an “inspiration” to many in the field of constraint-based reasoning across the world.

“He has been a true AI pioneer and we’re so lucky to have benefited from one of the most brilliant minds the field has ever known.”

O’Sullivan was also recently named the winner of a prestigious research award, picking up the Nerode Prize last month

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic