CSAIL's Tenenbaum named AI2050 Senior Fellow by Schmidt Futures

MIT professor and CSAIL member Josh Tenenbaum.

Two MIT faculty were recently honored by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt. MathWorks Professor Jörn Dunkel received the 2023 Schmidt Science Polymath award, and professor of computational cognitive science Josh Tenenbaum was named a Schmidt Futures AI2050 Senior Fellow.

AI2050 Senior Fellow

Josh Tenenbaum, a professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences who pursues research in computational cognitive science, was selected as a 2023 Schmidt Futures AI2050 Senior Fellow. He holds appointments in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines (CBMM), and serves as Director of Science for the MIT Quest for Intelligence.

Tenenbaum will pursue interdisciplinary research in artificial intelligence to help chart the development of AI for societal benefit. As a senior fellow, Tenenbaum’s long-term goal is to reverse-engineer intelligence in the human mind and brain, and use these insights to engineer more human-like machine intelligence.

AI2050 has allocated up to $7 million to support the new Senior Fellows’ research to address “hard problems” in AI in their respective fields including computer science, chemistry, cognitive science, the arts, and philosophy.

Tenenbaum is best known for theories of cognition as Bayesian inference, with a focus on explaining how humans can learn so much so quickly, from so little data. In AI, he has developed influential approaches to dimensionality reduction, unsupervised learning and structure discovery, and probabilistic programming.

His current research focuses on probabilistic program models of common sense in humans and machines, grounding language and perception in these representations, and learning based on program synthesis.