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UW’s Clune Named Distinguished Young Investigator

July 12, 2016
man with small robot talking to boy at computer keyboard
UW Department of Computer Science Assistant Professor Jeff Clune received the first Distinguished Young Investigator Award from the International Society on Artificial Life. (UW Photo)

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

Last week, Clune was named the recipient of the first Distinguished Young Investigator Award from the International Society on Artificial Life (ISAL). The international professional society is 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-tenured faculty in the field of artificial life worldwide were eligible.

An assistant professor in the UW 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,” the article 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 recently at an awards ceremony at the main artificial life conference.

Clune was named in 2015 as one of UW’s Top Professors by the campus Cap and 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 wrote 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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