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Date: 2024-05-21 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00024658
LEADERSHIP
DEMIS HASSABIS

Demis Hassabis ... Founder and CEO, DeepMind Technologies ... Demis Hassabis, the eldest of three, was born in London, England, to a Greek father and a Singaporean mother ... DATE OF BIRTH ... July 27, 1976


Original article: https://achievement.org/achiever/demis-hassabis-ph-d/
Peter Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess
Academy of Achievement OUR MEMBERS MEMBER INTERVIEWS THE ARTS BUSINESS SCIENCE & EXPLORATION PUBLIC SERVICE SPORTS ACHIEVER UNIVERSE THE SUMMIT SUMMIT OVERVIEW 2022 2019 2017 2014 2012 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 Listen to this achiever on What It Takes What It Takes is an audio podcast produced by the American Academy of Achievement featuring intimate, revealing conversations with influential leaders in the diverse fields of endeavor: public service, science and exploration, sports, technology, business, arts and humanities, and justice. The big breakthroughs and new companies that are going to be created in the future are interdisciplinary ones, where you make connections between two disparate subjects, and that’s going to happen again and again in the next 20 years. It’s going to be where a lot of the big breakthroughs come from. Demis Hassabis ... Founder and CEO, DeepMind Technologies DATE OF BIRTH ... July 27, 1976 Demis Hassabis, the eldest of three, was born in London, England, to a Greek father and a Singaporean mother. Demis Hassabis was born in London, England. He is of both Greek and Chinese ancestry; his father came from Cyprus, his mother from Singapore. Demis and his family moved frequently as his father pursued a variety of business and creative ventures. Demis was four years old when he saw his father and an uncle playing chess and asked them to teach him the game. He took to it quickly and was soon beating both of them. He showed a precocious aptitude for all games employing logic and strategy. Given his first computer at age eight, he programmed it to play the board game Othello. His fascination with both games and computers grew with every year. By age 13, Hassabis was a recognized chess master and was soon playing adults in international competition. Although he enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of chess competition, he longed to apply his skills to a larger area and decided to pursue the study of artificial intelligence (AI). At 17, he joined the computer games company Bullfrog Productions, where he worked as a designer on the game Syndicate and was lead programmer for the highly influential Theme Park. A bestseller, it won the industry’s Golden Joystick Award and spawned a host of management simulation games. Demis Hassabis started his professional games career at the age of 16 working at Bullfrog Productions. After finishing his bachelor’s in Computer Science Tripos, with a double degree from the Computer Lab at Cambridge, he joined the newly founded Lionhead Studios. In 1998, Hassabis founded Elixir Studios, producing games for Microsoft and Vivendi Universal, and contributed to many bestselling games, including Syndicate (1993), Theme Park (1994), Black & White (2001), Republic (2003), and Evil Genius (2004). He is an accomplished chess, shogi, and poker player, and has won the World Games Championships at the Mind Sports Olympiad, a record five times. Hassabis attended Cambridge University, where he led the chess team in 1995 and 1996, and again in 1997. Graduating that year with top honors in computer science, he joined Lionhead Studios, where he was the lead programmer for the game Black & White. The following year, he founded his own company, Elixir Studios. His first game as executive designer at Elixir was Republic: The Revolution, an innovative political simulation game. It was followed by the acclaimed super-villain simulator Evil Genius, and Hassabis concluded lucrative publishing deals with Vivendi and Microsoft. While running Elixir, Hassabis continued to participate in international games competition. In the London Mind Sports Olympiad, he emerged as the winner of the Pentamind World Championship in five consecutive years, from 1998 to 2003. In 2003 and in 2004, Hassabis won the championship in Decamentathlon. In 2004 he was the world team champion in the game Diplomacy. He was also a highly successful competitor in six different seasons of the World Series of Poker. March 9, 2016: Google DeepMind co-founder and chief scientist Demis Hassabis shakes hands with South Korean professional Go player Lee Se-dol before the Google DeepMind Challenge Match in Seoul, South Korea. Lee Se-dol played a five-game match against a computer program developed by Google, AlphaGo. AlphaGo is the first computer program to defeat a professional human Go player, the first program to defeat a Go world champion, and arguably the strongest Go player in history. AlphaGo’s landmark 4-1 victory in Seoul, South Korea was watched by over 200 million people worldwide. Before founding DeepMind, after a decade of experience leading successful technology startups, Hassabis returned to academia to complete a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience at University College London, followed by postdocs at MIT and Harvard University. (Photo: Google via Getty Images) Having proven himself in world games competition and the computer games industry, Hassabis decided to study the working of the human brain to gain further insight into the possibilities of artificial intelligence. In 2005, he sold the intellectual property and technology rights to the games he had created and liquidated Elixir Studios. He began studies of cognitive neuroscience at University College London (UCL), completing his Ph.D. in 2009. He then traveled to the United States to pursue postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was a Wellcome Fellow at the UCL Neuroscience Unit. His doctoral studies focused on the field of autobiographical memory and amnesia. He has co-authored papers on the subject, published in Nature, Science, Neuron, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). His paper in PNAS established for the first time that injury to the hippocampus area of the brain — which causes amnesia — also impairs the patient’s ability to imagine other situations. Hassabis had demonstrated the neurological connection between the functions of imagination and episodic memory — both require the ability to construct a scene mentally. His achievement was cited as one of the “Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of the Year” by the journal Science. 2016: Demis Hassabis addresses the audience at the Google DeepMInd Challenge Match. (Photo by Sam Byford) In 2011, Hassabis founded the AI company DeepMind Technologies. He defined its mission as solving “the problem of intelligence” and then using artificial intelligence “to solve everything else.” Combining insights from neuroscience and machine learning with the latest developments in computer hardware, Hassabis is seeking to construct a mechanism for general-purpose learning — “artificial general intelligence” (AGI). Hassabis and his DeepMind colleagues focused initially on creating learning algorithms to master games. By 2013, they had created an algorithm called Deep Q-Network (DQN) that could play computer games ”at a superhuman level.” With no input other than the pixels visible on the screen, and no directions other than “achieve the maximum score,” DQN became the world’s best player of Space Invaders within 30 minutes of its introduction to the game. DeepMind’s research caught the attention of technology giant Google, which purchased DeepMind for over $6500 million in 2014. Hassabis remains CEO of DeepMind, which operates as an independently managed entity, with headquarters in North London. April 25, 2017: Demis Hassabis attends the 2017 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Hassabis was named one of TIME‘s 100 most influential pioneers, leaders, titans, artists, and icons of 2017. Ray Kurzweil, inventor, scientist, author, futurist, and director of engineering at Google, which owns DeepMind, wrote at the time, “Demis Hassabis is one of the leading scientists creating AI breakthroughs, with three Nature papers in the past two years. He believes, as I do, that AI will help solve humanity’s grand challenges—alleviating poverty, curing disease and improving the environment. Of equal importance, however, Demis is deeply committed to keeping AI safe. Every technology since fire has intertwined promise and peril. Demis has been a leader in establishing ethical guidelines to keep AI accountable. If we achieve this vision, it’s likely Demis will have played a large part.” (Getty) Hassabis turned his attention to the challenge posed by the ancient Chinese game Go. The multiplicity of choices available to a Go player make it virtually impossible for even a master player of the game to explain completely the logic informing a given move. Hassabis regarded the game as an ideal challenge for a learning machine. In 2015, the DeepMind program AlphaGo defeated the European Go champion with a score of 5-0. The following year, it beat a former world champion, 4 -1. 2017: Awards Council member and British cosmologist Lord Martin Rees presents the Golden Plate Award to Demis Hassabis, a British pioneer of artificial intelligence and a founder and CEO of DeepMind, at a ceremony in London. DeepMind has also produced a “neural Turing machine,” that is, a recurrent neural network model combining the fuzzy pattern-matching capabilities of an artificial neural network with the algorithmic power of a programmable computer. The company’s progress in machine learning has married the processes of deep learning and reinforcement learning to create the new field of “deep reinforcement learning.” These processes hold enormous promise for almost every field of scientific study, from medicine to astrophysics. In 2015, the Financial Times listed Demis Hassabis as one of the “Top 50 Entrepreneurs in Europe” and the following year as the “Digital Entrepreneur of the Year.” Science magazine named AlphaGo one of the “Top 10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2016” and TIME magazine listed Hassabis as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in 2017. In Britain’s 2018 New Year’s Honours, Demis Hassabis was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in May 2018, he was elected a member of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientific association. 2017: Guest of honor Demis Hassabis addresses Academy delegates and members at Claridge’s Hotel during the American Academy of Achievement’s 52nd annual International Achievement Summit held in London, England. In Summer 2018, the journal Nature Medicine published a study of DeepMind’s first medical product, a new technology for analyzing OCT scans. The OCT scan (optical coherence tomography) is regularly used to detect retinal disorders, including macular degeneration and diabetes-related blindness. In an early study, DeepMind AI technology proved it can analyze OCT scans and make diagnoses with 94 percent accuracy, demonstrably better than human experts. If further trials are successful, DeepMind will make the technology available for free for the first five years. DeepMind is also working with Britain’s National Health Service to develop a mobile app to alert doctors and their patients to the threat of kidney injury. December 3, 2017: Demis Hassabis and retired NFL player and mathematician John Urschel onstage during the 2018 Breakthrough Prize at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. (© Steve Jennings/Getty) Shortly after DeepMind’s AlphaGo program defeated legendary Go player Lee Sedol, DeepMind established a small team to begin work on protein structure prediction. They developed AlphaFold, AI that can predict the shape of proteins down to the nearest atom. In December 2018, the AlphaFold program placed first in the overall rankings of the 13th Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP). In 2020, DeepMind revealed AlphaFold2 and was recognized as a solution to the 50-year “protein folding problem.” “It’s the most complex thing we’ve ever done,” says Hassabis. In July of 2021, DeepMind published a detailed description of how the system works and released the source code for free to the whole world. It also set up a public database with the European Bioinformatics Institute that it is filling with new protein structures as the AI predicts them. The database currently has around 800,000 entries, and DeepMind will add more than 100 million—nearly every protein known to science—in the next year. A handful of teams around the world have started using AlphaFold in work on antibiotic resistance, cancer, covid, and more. A 3-D image of the malaria protein Pfs48/45. In July 2022, researchers at the DeepMind Technologies artificial-intelligence lab announced they predicted the structure of nearly all known proteins. (Deepmind Technologies) In November 2021, Hassabis announced he is now juggling his leadership at DeepMind with the CEO role at the startup Isomorphic Labs, a new sister company in Alphabet that will focus exclusively on bringing the power of AI to biotech and medicine. In July 2022, researchers at the DeepMind Technologies artificial-intelligence lab said they had predicted the structure of nearly all known proteins, a significant advance in biology that will accelerate drug discovery and help address problems such as sustainability and food insecurity. They also expanded the AlphaFold database to include 214 million predicted proteins, or nearly all of the proteins known to science. That includes all of the proteins in the human body, as well as proteins found in animals, plants, bacteria and many other organisms. October 28, 2022: Honoree Yann LeCun, the “godfather” of deep learning, and Demis Hassabis at the “Princesa de Asturias” Awards ceremony at Teatro Campoamor in Asturias, Spain. LeCun was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement at the 2019 International Achievement Summit held in New York City and Hassabis was inducted into the Academy at the 2017 Summit held in London. (Photo Credits: Samuel de Roman/Getty Images) In April 2023, Alphabet announced that DeepMind would merge with their own AI lab, Google Brain. Hassabis will lead the newly formed “Google DeepMind” unit with a clear mission to develop “general AI systems” that are even more “capable and responsible”, and can be integrated into new products and services. This page last revised on May 5, 2023 Academy of Achievement ... © 1996 - 2023 American Academy of Achievement. All Rights Reserved.



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