Judea Pearl Dana Mackenzie Biography & Facts
Judea Pearl (born September 4, 1936) is an Israeli-American computer scientist and philosopher, best known for championing the probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence and the development of Bayesian networks (see the article on belief propagation). He is also credited for developing a theory of causal and counterfactual inference based on structural models (see article on causality). In 2011, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) awarded Pearl with the Turing Award, the highest distinction in computer science, "for fundamental contributions to artificial intelligence through the development of a calculus for probabilistic and causal reasoning". He is the author of several books, including the technical Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference, and The Book of Why, a book on causality aimed at the general public.
Judea Pearl is the father of journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan connected with Al-Qaeda and the International Islamic Front in 2002 for his American and Jewish heritage.
Judea Pearl was born in Tel Aviv, British Mandate for Palestine, in 1936 to Polish Jewish immigrant parents. He is a descendant of Menachem Mendel of Kotzk on his mother's side. After serving in the Israel Defense Forces and joining a kibbutz, Pearl decided to study engineering in 1956. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Technion 1960. That same year, he emigrated to the United States and pursued graduate studies. He received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Newark College of Engineering (now the New Jersey Institute of Technology) in 1961, and went on to receive an M.S. in Physics from Rutgers University and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now the New York University Tandon School of Engineering) in 1965. He worked at RCA Research Laboratories (now SRI International) in Princeton, New Jersey on superconductive parametric amplifiers and storage devices and at Electronic Memories, Inc., on advanced memory systems. When semiconductors "wiped out" Pearl's work, as he later expressed it, he joined UCLA's School of Engineering in 1970 and started work on probabilistic artificial intelligence. He is one of the founding editors of the Journal of Causal Inference.
Pearl is currently a professor of computer science and statistics and director of the Cognitive Systems Laboratory at UCLA. He and his wife, Ruth, had three children. In addition, as of 2011, he is a member of the International Advisory Board of NGO Monitor.Former Israeli Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, partnered with Judea Pearl in the documentary With My Whole Broken Heart.
Murder of Daniel Pearl
In 2002, his son, Daniel Pearl, a journalist working for the Wall Street Journal was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan, leading Judea and the other members of the family and friends to create the Daniel Pearl Foundation. On the seventh anniversary of Daniel's death, Judea wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal titled Daniel Pearl and the Normalization of Evil: When will our luminaries stop making excuses for terror?.Emeritus Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks quoted Judea Pearl's beliefs in a lesson on Judaism: "I asked Judea Pearl, father of the murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, why he was working for reconciliation between Jews and Muslims, he replied with heartbreaking lucidity, 'Hate killed my son. Therefore I am determined to fight hate.'"
On his religious views, Pearl states that he does not believe in God. He is very connected to Jewish traditions such as daily prayer, tefillin, and Kiddush on Friday night. He believes that Jews have always expected a return to Israel as expressed in songs, prayers and holidays.
Judea Pearl is one of the pioneers of Bayesian networks and the probabilistic approach to artificial intelligence, and one of the first to mathematize causal modeling in the empirical sciences. His work is also intended as a high-level cognitive model. He is interested in the philosophy of science, knowledge representation, nonstandard logics, and learning. Pearl is described as "one of the giants in the field of artificial intelligence" by UCLA computer science professor Richard Korf. His work on causality has "revolutionized the understanding of causality in statistics, psychology, medicine and the social sciences" according to the Association for Computing Machinery.
A summary of Pearl's scientific contributions is available in a chronological account authored by Stuart J. Russell (2012).
An annotated bibliography of Pearl's contributions was compiled by the ACM in 2012.Books
Heuristics, Addison-Wesley, 1984
Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems, Morgan-Kaufmann, 1988
Causality: Models, Reasoning, and Inference, Cambridge University Press, 2000
I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl, Jewish Lights, 2004. (Winner of a 2004 National Jewish Book Award)
Causal Inference in Statistics: A Primer, (with Madelyn Glymour and Nicholas Jewell), Wiley, 2016. ISBN 978-1119186847
A previous survey: Causal inference in statistics: An overview, Statistics Surveys, 3:96–146, 2009. The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect, 2018 (with Dana Mackenzie)Awards
History of the Jews in Los AngelesReferences
Judea Pearl's personal website
Daniel Pearl Foundation Website
Interview with Judea Pearl from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Interview with Judea Pearl on Robots and Free Will
Judea Pearl at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
Judea Pearl at the AI Genealogy Project.
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