Recent honors and awards for Amazon scientists

Researchers honored for their contributions to the scientific community.

Rohit Prasad wins TiE Boston Achievement in Corporate Excellence Award

Rohit Prasad, Alexa senior vice president and head scientist, has won the TiE Boston 2022 Achievement in Corporate Excellence award.

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Rohit Prasad

TiE selected Prasad for his “remarkable contribution to move the needle forward in creating or redefining” his industry through investment, mentoring, education, and business creativity.

Throughout his career, Prasad has worked in speech, language, and multimedia technologies, pursuing a passion for democratizing artificial intelligence. After 13 years at Raytheon BBN Technologies, he joined Amazon as its director of machine learning for Alexa in April 2013. Prasad has coauthored more than 100 scientific articles and holds dozens of patents for voice and related technologies.

Formed in Boston in 1997 as The Indus Entrepreneurs, TiE Boston focuses on supporting entrepreneurs and encouraging collaboration among its members. TiE organizes programs, events, and other forums to connect successful entrepreneurs and to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Association for Computing Machinery names Stefano Soatto as 2022 Fellow

Stefano Soatto, vice president of applied science for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Artificial Intelligence (AI), has been elevated to Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

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Stefano Soatto, director of applied science for Amazon Web Services’ AI applications
Credit: UCLA Samueli

Soatto, who is also a professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles, received the honor for “contributions to the foundations and applications of visual geometry and visual representations learning.”

ACM Fellows have made important contributions to computing and information technology, such as cybersecurity, human-computer interaction, mobile computing, recommender systems, and many other areas.

ACM recognizes just 1 percent of its membership as ACM Fellows, which is the organization’s most prestigious member grade.

Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence honors 4 Amazon researchers

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) has awarded Senior Member status to Amazon Visiting Academic Kai-Wei Chang; Amazon Scholar Matthew Lease; Bo Liu, an applied scientist; and Amazon Visiting Academic William Wang as AAAI Senior Members.

Senior Member status recognizes AAAI members who have significant accomplishments within the field of AI.

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Kai-Wei Chang

Kai-Wei Chang’s research centers around the development of models, algorithms, and learning protocols for fair, accountable, and robust natural language processing (NLP) technology. He publishes broadly in NLP, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Chang has taught at UCLA since 2017 and is currently an associate professor in UCLA’s Department of Computer Science.

As an Amazon Visiting Academic since October 2020, Chang works with Amazon Alexa AI-Natural Understanding, applying his research methods to complex real-world technical challenges.

Matthew Lease
Matthew Lease

Matthew Lease’s research integrates AI and human-computer interaction (HCI). In particular, he works in the areas of crowdsourcing and human computation, information retrieval, and natural language processing.

In addition to his work as an Amazon Scholar, a role he has held since 2019, Lease has been a professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) since 2009.

He is a faculty founder and leader of UT-Austin’s Good Systems challenge. Good Systems is an eight-year, university-wide endeavor that is investigating how to define, evaluate, and build ethical AI systems.

At Amazon, Lease works in AWS AI on human-in-the-loop computing and AI-assisted data annotation.

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Bo Liu

Bo Liu’s research includes decision making under uncertainty, human-aided machine learning, symbolic AI, and trustworthiness and interpretability in machine learning.

Liu joined Amazon in 2022 where he is working on substitute recommender system and related projects on the International Machine Learning (IML) team.

In 2018, while Liu was an associate professor in the computer science department at Auburn University, he won an Amazon Research Award for his work on "Sequential transaction risk management with deep reinforcement learning". He obtained his PhD from the Autonomous Learning Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015.

William Wang’s research interests include NLP, machine learning, knowledge representation and reasoning, and knowledge graphs. Wang joined Amazon in January 2022 as an Amazon Visiting Academic.

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William Wang

Earlier this year, Wang was also elected as a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Wang is the codirector of two organizations at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB): the Natural Language Processing group and the Center for Responsible Machine Learning.

As an associate professor in UCSB’s Department of Computer Science since 2016, Wang holds the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Designs.

The AAAI celebrated its new Senior Members at the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence in February 2023. The conference fosters scientific exchange across all fields of AI among researchers, practitioners, scientists, students, and engineers.

Founded in 1979, AAAI is a nonprofit scientific society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines. AAAI aims to promote research in and responsible use of artificial intelligence and increase public understanding of the field.

Royal Society of South Australia recognizes Anton van den Hengel as a Fellow

Anton van den Hengel, director of applied science, has been accepted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Australia (RSSA), the highest level of RSSA membership. With the designation, the RSSA recognizes van den Hengel for his “outstanding contributions to sciences or the advancement of sciences in South Australia.”

Anton van den Hengel is seen smiling into the camera, with some office buildings in the background
Anton van den Hengel

Van den Hengel is the founding director of the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML), Australia’s first institute dedicated to machine learning research. In addition to his work as director of applied science at Amazon, van den Hengel serves part-time as director of the AIML’s Centre for Augmented Reasoning at the University of Adelaide, which has a mission to build core AI capability in Australia.

Formed in 1853 as the Adelaide Philosophical Society, the RSSA’s purpose is to function as a vibrant, dynamic, and inclusive society for the advancement of science in South Australia.

Amazon Scholar Antal van den Bosch earns Francqui Chair 2023

Amazon Scholar Antal van den Bosch has been awarded the Francqui Chair 2023 at Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven). The Francqui Chair is an honor bestowed by the Francqui Foundation, which pays for a scientist’s stay at a Belgian university which has invited the scientist as a guest instructor.

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Antal van den Bosch

van den Bosch has been addressing topics in NLP and AI at various KU Leuven campuses.

With dual training in linguistics and artificial intelligence, van den Bosch has worked at universities in Belgium and the Netherlands. He has been a professor of computational linguistics at Utrecht University in the Netherlands since September of 2022. Previously, he served as a professor at Radboud University in the Netherlands, where he also served as research director of the Centre for Language Studies.

The Francqui Foundation was founded in 1932 by the Belgian businessman Émile Francqui and US President Herbert Hoover. Its mission is to further the development of higher education and scientific research in Belgium.

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