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CIFAR fellows garner top honours

by CIFAR Jan 7 / 19

Pioneers in neuroscience and artificial intelligence are among the CIFAR members who have been recently named to the highest honours in their respective countries.

On December 27, Geoffrey Hinton was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. A CIFAR Distinguished Fellow and the founder of CIFAR’s Learning in Machines & Brains program, Hinton is often referred to as the “Godfather of Deep Learning,” in tribute to his ground-breaking work in the development of artificial neural networks.

Université de Montréal professor Isabelle Peretz, an associate fellow in CIFAR’s Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness, was named as a Member of the Order of Canada. Peretz is a neuroscientist who has contributed significantly to our understanding of how the brain processes music.

On December 28, Western University neuroscientist Adrian Owen was named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) as part of the 2019 UK New Year’s Honours list. Among other breakthroughs, Owen is renowned for discovering evidence of conscious awareness in brain-injured patients who were previously deemed unresponsive.

Also named to the Order of Canada were Digvir Jayas, a former member of the President’s Research Council, and Charlie Fischer, a former CIFAR board member.  A long-time promoter of academic and scientific research in Canada, Jayas was recognized for his work in advancing agricultural practices. Fischer is the former president of Alberta-based oil and gas company Nexen Inc., and was cited for his long record of philanthropy and community service.