Yandex is thrilled to announce a new annual award for students and faculty in computer science and related fields, named after Ilya Segalovich, Yandex co-founder and creator of Yandex search. This award honors Ilya’s commitment to supporting education and his philanthropic pursuits and introduces a new Yandex education initiative to encourage the study of computer science.
The Ilya Segalovich Award recognizes academic achievement and research contributing to technological advancements in areas relevant to Yandex. These fields include speech recognition and speech synthesis, information search and data analysis, machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing and machine translation.
The award is open to graduate or postgraduate students and academic advisors in computer science fields at institutions in Russia, Belarus or Kazakhstan. Students can directly apply for the award, while academic advisors must be nominated. An award committee composed of members of the Yandex management team and top machine learning experts will consider the quality of candidates’ published work to select winners.
"Yandex has always strongly valued education in computer science," says Arkady Volozh, CEO and co-founder of Yandex. "We believe education in the field will continue to be central to the advancement of AI and delivering intelligent products and services to users everywhere. With this award, we want to support researchers who, like us, are engaged in computer science and are inspired to build the technologies of the future. We named the award after Ilya to honor his commitment to progress and his achievements supporting the IT community."
The Ilya Segalovich Award follows another Yandex initiative to recognize Ilya’s passion for education, the Ilya Segalovich Scholarship. Established in 2014, this scholarship supports computer science students at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Yandex has also partnered with HSE to establish the Faculty of Computer Science, which trains developers, analysts, and researchers in data analysis and software engineering.
These two academic awards represent just part of Yandex’s commitment to education, a key part of which includes Yandex.Lyceum for secondary students and the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA). YSDA is a Master’s level program in computer science and data analysis that Ilya helped establish in 2007 together with Arkady Volozh, and pattern recognition specialist, Ilya Muchnik. YSDA graduates and Yandex professionals regularly advance the computer science field with their contributions of published articles, and their expertise is key to powering Yandex’s intelligent products and services.
The Ilya Segalovich Award Committee will award a total of up to 15 million rubles (about $230,000) to thirteen winners. Student awardees will receive 350,000 rubles ($5,300), a grant to travel to an international conference on artificial intelligence, and an internship opportunity at Yandex that includes a professional mentorship. Academic advisors will receive 700,000 rubles ($10,600). The application deadline is the end of February, and the award ceremony will take place in Moscow this spring.
Since 2011 Yandex has been running a programming competition, Yandex.Algorithm, to challenge competitive coders and advance the machine learning community. Yandex.Algorithm welcomes coding contestants from around the world to enter up to three tracks of the 2018 competition: algorithm track, optimization track, and ML track.
Each track was designed to test contestants with a variety of problem solving tasks. Historically, Yandex.Algorithm has focused on the algorithm track but last year it included more diverse problems such as optimization tasks. Following positive feedback from the community on these changes, we designed the Yandex.Algorithm 2018 competition to include optimization and machine learning problems within separate applied science tracks.
The algorithm track is designed to follow its traditional format in which submitted solutions are run against test cases. The optimization track was developed with the help of our search algorithm engineers and our autonomous vehicle team members to require a multitude of creative approaches rather than a single solution. The optimization track answers will be evaluated and awarded points based on the test performances of submitted solutions. The machine learning track tasks require contestants to create models, which will be evaluated based on how well specified parameters can be predicted using the models.
Yandex.Algorithm contestants are competing to advance their programming capabilities in addition to cash prizes. The winner of the algorithmic track will take home approximately a $5000 cash prize and the second and third place winners will receive $2600 and $1600 respectively. The winners in the other two categories will each receive approximately $1800 and runners up in these new tracks will also be awarded cash prizes as well. Over 500 of the top performing participants will receive a Yandex.Algorithm t-shirt.
The three tracks will run consecutively in order to give all participants the opportunity to try their hand at solving every type of a problem in the Yandex.Algorithm 2018 competition. The first qualification round for the algorithmic track will take place on February 17th. The 25 best performers in the three qualifying rounds of the algorithmic track will be invited to Saint Petersburg on May 19th for the finals. The optimization track and the machine learning track will run online competitions starting in March.
Interested programmers can register and find all relevant information for Yandex.Algorithm in both English and Russian on the competition website. Congratulations to the 2017 winner, Gennady Korotkevich, a Belarusian information technology student from Saint Petersburg, who has won the top Yandex.Algorithm prize four times! Good luck to all of the 2018 participants!
Yandex is thrilled to partner with Tel Aviv University (TAU) to create the Yandex Machine Learning Initiative and open the sixth branch of the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), where a new career advancement program will be offered.
From digital learning platforms to our master’s program, Yandex has led several major education initiatives to improve the development and impact of AI in both academia and the private sector over the last decade. Our new partnership with TAU marks a key step in expanding our machine learning education and innovation programs to one of the world’s leading tech centers.
Today the tech community in Israel hosts many of the top startups creating innovative products and services that are shaping the future of AI globally. As the largest university in Israel, TAU plays a critical role in the development of both the local and global tech community. The team at TAU provides a world-class computer science education and shares our vision to enhance the global AI ecosystem by creating more experts and innovators in the field. Yandex CEO, Arkady Volozh, who spearheaded the partnership explains, “It’s our goal to not only ensure education in AI continues to grow the global community but also to keep challenging and advancing our ability to shape the future of AI.”
The Yandex Machine Learning Initiative will be run through TAU’s Blavatnik School of Computer Science as part of the BSc Program in Computer Science. The program will introduce a cluster of courses that will focus on machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision and robotics.
The majority of the initiative will be dedicated to expanding opportunities for students through Yandex Fellowships, which will award scholarships to the brightest students at the master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral level. As part of the initiative, the Yandex International Distinguished Lecture Series in Machine Learning will enhance collaboration by bringing experts from around the world to TAU to give lectures and conduct research with TAU faculty. Furthermore, the Yandex Initiative will also support new faculty recruitment and the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment to enhance the program.
In addition to the Yandex Machine Learning Initiative at the university, TAU will become the sixth campus location of the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), where YSDA will launch a one-year career advancement program for the first time. For over ten years now, YSDA has been offering a master’s level program in Computer Science and Data Analysis that challenges students with two vigorous years of training from top experts in the most advanced data science topics. To date, over 600 YSDA graduates have brought their understanding of theoretical foundations and hands-on experience at YSDA to academia and leading technology companies around the world.
While the majority of YSDA graduates have gone on to work at companies like Yandex, Microsoft, and Apple, the future of AI is not limited to tech companies and academia but will continue to expand into a wide range of industries and businesses where machine learning experts are in growing demand. In recognition of the increasing need for skilled AI professionals, the YSDA faculty is designing a new one-year machine learning career advancement program for students and professionals that will be offered at the new TAU location. The new program aims at serving students with diverse academic and professional backgrounds who can apply their machine learning expertise across many industries.
We are excited about the work ahead in 2018 and the opportunity to help educate the next generation of AI experts who will be innovating for years to come. Last week the Yandex TAU partnership kicked off with a ceremony in which Yandex CEO, Arkady Volozh signed the agreement for the initiative with TAU President Joseph Klafter.