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Clune Named Distinguished Young Investigator

July 11, 2016
Jeff Clune, left, explains artificial intelligence applications to graduate students.
Jeff Clune, left, explains artificial intelligence applications to graduate students.

The honors keep coming for University of Wyoming Assistant Professor Jeff Clune.

Last week, Clune was named as the recipient of the very first “Distinguished Young Investigator Award” from the International Society on Artificial Life (ISAL), which is an international professional society dedicated to promoting scientific research and education relating to artificial life. The award is given for a young scientist's entire body of work to date. All students, postdocs, and pre-tenure faculty in the field of artificial life worldwide were eligible. 

An assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, Clune also was honored for his work on a paper featured on the cover of the journal Nature in May 2015. Titled “Robots That Can Adapt Like Animals,” it describes a new technique to help robots automatically recover from injury in less than two minutes. Nature is an international weekly journal of science that publishes the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology. That publication was chosen by ISAL as the “Outstanding Paper of 2015” within the field.

“It is really amazing to be honored in this way by one of the research communities in which I am active,” Clune says. "To receive both the Distinguished Young Investigator Award and the Outstanding Paper of the Year award at the same time is truly exciting. It is great to hear that others in the field value the research we are doing."

Both awards were officially announced Friday at an awards ceremony at the main artificial life conference.

Recently, Clune was named in 2015 as one of UW’s Top Professors by the campus Cap & Gown Chapter of Mortar Board. Additionally, Clune and his team earned a 2015 Popular Science “Best of What’s New” award for the article in Nature, and authored the 63rd-most talked about science article in 2015 (“Deep Neural Networks are Easily Fooled”), according to Altmetric. He also won an NSF CAREER Award for more than $500,000 to fund the research in his Evolving Artificial Intelligence Lab at UW.


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