The annual Ilya Segalovich Award ceremony took place for the second time, this time – online. The award, established by Yandex last year in honor of the legacy of one of its co-founders Ilya Segalovich, celebrates special achievement in computer science and related fields, and is awarded to young researchers and academics working in Russia, Kazakhstan or Belarus.
Last year's award was shared among 13 winners, including nine graduate and postgraduate students and four academics, who pushed the boundaries in their respective fields. Their scope of study ranged from detecting plant disease using computer vision and video object tracking, to detecting emotional subtleties in text and creating automated translation algorithms for rare languages.
This year the total sum of 15 million rubles ($210,000) was awarded to three academics and nine young researchers. Their work focused on problems in 3D computer vision and video generation, stochastic optimization, deep learning, reinforcement learning, positive-unlabeled learning, generative adversarial networks, Bayesian deep learning, representation learning, multilinear algebra and exploratory search.
“Yandex’s products and technologies have always been driven by science. Applied research, however, is not the only center of our attention. We are deeply interested in theoretical research, as well. This is what drives the entire IT industry and can lead to impressive future results,” says Mikhail Bilenko, head of Machine Learning Research at Yandex. “We established the Ilya Segalovich Award to support graduates and postgraduates working in machine learning and other promising areas of computer science. Talented students often have to leave their studies for the sake of an early career. We would love to give them an opportunity to continue their fundamental research.”
We have always relied on world-class research to develop our products and technologies. A number of leading scientists have been a part of the Yandex team or collaborated with Yandex in various capacities at different points in time. The Ilya Segalovich Award Committee includes top Yandex executives as well as leading scientists, such as Ilya Muchnik, Professor at Rutgers University and Academic Director of the Yandex School of Data Analysis, Stanislav Smirnov, a Fields Medal laureate and Professor at the University of Geneva, and Alexei Efros, Associate Professor at UC Berkeley.
The Ilya Segalovich Award, along with the eponymous scholarship for computer science at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, is part of Yandex's commitment to support fundamental research and professional development, including through its Educational Initiative, a multimillion dollar investment program for educational projects and services.
With over 30 educational projects and services currently offered by Yandex, the company has a strong tradition supporting educational initiatives and partnering with the leading universities in Russia and other countries. We have been nurturing exceptional talent in mathematics, data science and related fields through our School of Data Analysis in Moscow and other locations in Russia since 2007, and through its branch, Y-Data, in Tel Aviv and Beer-Sheva. Last year we launched Russia’s first online English-language master’s program in data science in partnership with Coursera, based on the Computer Science Faculty at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
We will continue to support people who are passionate about what they do, especially when they do it for the benefit of others.